Okuonghae thrilled to make long-awaited return

Magnus Okuonghae
Magnus Okuonghae

Hatters defender Magnus Okuonghae was thrilled to make his return to competitive action on Tuesday night after almost a year out through injury, writes Mike Simmonds.

The centre half last featured for former club Colchester United on November 22 in a League One clash against Coventry, where he ruptured his Achilles, ruling him out for the rest of the season.

“It was a little bit of a surprise for me, but when I heard I was coming on, I had tunnel vision and I was ready.”

Magnus Okuonghae

However, he was snapped up by Hatters boss John Still during the summer, and made his debut when replacing Scott Cuthbert after 56 minutes of Town’s 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Leyton Orient.

Okuonghae said: “I’m delighted as I’ve had to wait a long time.

“There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes, so I have to thank Simon Parsell, Daz (Darren Cook) and Dave Richardson, they’ve worked really hard and helped me along the way.

“The support the gaffer too, knowing that it might have taken a few more weeks than the other boys to get up to speed.

“For him to show that faith in me I’ll be forever grateful, and I’m literally delighted.

“It’s taken me a few more weeks, and I was probably fast tracked with some of the boys picking up a few knocks.

“It was a little bit of a surprise for me, but when I heard I was coming on, I had tunnel vision and I was ready.

“I enjoyed it too, I didn’t feel out of place at all.

“I just want to step it up now and get as many minutes I can in whatever game is available for me to play in, and then hopefully I can cement my place in the team.”

Defender Stephen O’Donnell was delighted to see his team-mate back in the thick of things too, as he said: “It was great to see big Mags come on, if he gets fit it’s another great addition to the squad.

“You want to see Scott Cuthbert fit for Saturday, but great to see Mags out there.

“The manager has been trying to get him fit and I’ve only seen him a couple of times in training but he’s looked a powerhouse and technically good as well.

“Sometimes you see these big guys who aren’t the best on the ball, but he’s good on the ball and if he gets fully fit the manager has got lots and lots of headaches.”

>> Town’s opponents in the next round of the JPT, drawn on Saturday, will be one of Crawley, Dagenham, Gillingham, Millwall, Northampton, Southend or Stevenage.