Okuonghae determined to start once fully fit

Magnus Okuonghae
Magnus Okuonghae
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Returning centre half Magnus Okuonghae has set his sights firmly on a place in Luton’s defence once he is fully up to speed.

The 29-year-old summer signing made his debut for Hatters in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Leyton Orient last week, as he came on for the final 30 minutes.

“I’ll work hard and make sure one of those shirts is mine.”

Magnus Okuonghae

Okuonghae is still getting back to full fitness after rupturing his Achilles while playing for former club Colchester United in November last year.

But on his aspirations for the Hatters, he said: “I just want to step it up, step it up, keep getting stronger and at some point, I’ll be looking to cement my place in the team.

“I’m used to playing, I played the whole time I was at my previous club and that’s what I’ll do, I’ll work hard and make sure one of those shirts is mine.

“I tend to not look at things that I cant control, so I can’t control whether he (John Still) picks the same centre back every week or he doesn’t.

“It’s just a case of doing what I can do, working as hard as I can work, playing as well as I can play, and giving him that problem.”

Okuonghae is well aware he faces a battle on his hands to earn selection, with Still strengthening his back-line during the summer, bringing in Scott Cuthbert, Mark O’Brien and himself.

He continued: “Over the years one thing I have learnt is competition will bring out the best in individuals and bring out the best in the squad.

“That was something that appealed to me, if you want to get the best out of yourself and the best out of the team.”

The defender is starting to see the light at the end of tunnel now as he was named on the bench for Luton’s 3-1 win at Cambridge on Saturday and had 90 minutes in the 7-0 development win over Gillingham during midweek.

He believes the absence has intensified his urge to play again, saying: “I’ve had long term injuries in the past and probably dealt with it in the wrong way, the last time.

“So I’ve learned from that, I knew it was just a case of staying positive and was only a matter of time.

“I’ve watched every game, it’s been frustrating from a personal point of view to watch games, but its made me hungrier and made me work that little bit harder.”