Okuonghae hopes for an extended run in Hatters’ defence

Hatters centre half Magnus Okuonghae
Hatters centre half Magnus Okuonghae
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Hatters centre half Magnus Okuonghae has targeted an extended run in the side after making his return against Barnet on Easter Monday.

The 30-year-old hadn’t started for Luton in over two months, since being named in the team for boss Nathan Jones’ first game in charge, the 0-0 draw against Cambridge United on January 16.

“The boys have been doing brilliant, so it’s not been an issue, I’ve been patient and just waited for my chance to play.”

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However, with Dan Potts injured and Alan Sheehan moving across to cover at left back, Okuonghae began only his seventh game of an injury-hit season since moving to Kenilworth Road in the summer.

Speaking afterwards, the defender said: “That is the aim now, as a professional footballer you want to play as many games as you can.

“It’s been a topsy turvy year for me so to speak in terms of injuries and staying fit.

“I lost my place in the side through injury, as I was injured on the morning of a game, that’s the first time I’ve started since.

“It was nice to get involved and get some time under my belt.

“It doesn’t matter how it comes about, whether it’s injury, whether you get put back in the team, you just want to play as many games as you can.

“The boys have been doing brilliant, so it’s not been an issue, I’ve been patient and just waited for my chance to play

“These things happen, I’m enjoying it, whether I’m playing or not, although obviously I want to play as much football as I can.

“As a footballer you enjoy playing, so regardless of the result you enjoy playing.”

Okuonghae was thrust back in against one of the more direct teams in the division, as he came under a fierce aerial bombardment throughout, standing up well to the test from Michael Gash and John Akinde.

He continued: “It was a tough game in terms of they’re relentless in what they do.

“Throw-ins are being thrown into the box from in front of the dug out and I think we did brilliantly against that threat, it’s just unfortunate the way we’ve conceded the two goals.

“Akinde and Gash are a handful, I suppose they’re your old school type of League Two player, but it was what it was. They play to their strengths and I thought we stood up to it.

“I don’t think their goals have actually come from areas where you’d probably expect them to score, so that’s probably more disappointing.

“We’ve been on the other side of that scoring away from home and it gives you something to hold on to.”

It had looked like Luton would salvage a point through Cameron McGeehan, with Okuonghae feeling three were in their grasp too, until Town conceded a late penalty for Akinde to convert.

Okuonghae added: “We showed great character to get back in it. Cam’s a goal threat, every time you see him in and around that area you expect him to nick a goal.

“At that point it looked like there was only going to be one winner, so it’s just unfortunate.”