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Interviews

Afolayan Up For The Physicality Of League Two

18 April 2019

Dapo Afolayan says he’s enjoying his life at Oldham Athletic since joining on loan from West Ham United in January.

Afolayan says he has been made to feel welcome and that he has settled into life nicely at Boundary Park.

“It's really good here, I'm enjoying it and I think it's a great club.” He said.

“The players and fans are great, and I've settled in well, obviously it's been up and down with injuries, but I'm enjoying it.”

Afolayan joined Latics as he was coming back from a knee injury he picked up at West Ham.

He made his way into the starting XI before a nasty looking shoulder injury picked up at Lincoln City stalled his progress.

Afolayan says he was disappointed with setback, but he didn’t let it get to him too much.

“It was frustrating, but that's football.” He commented.

“My season's been like that, so it's something as a young player I have to deal with because it can happen, and I can't let it get me down.

“At the time I was getting back into things, I thought I did well against Cambridge and Lincoln, but for that to happen was a bit of a setback.

“After it happened, I said I didn't want to have surgery and I wanted to get back playing.”

He openly admitted that he felt his season was over on the night at Lincoln, but Afolayan was determined not to let the injury get the better of him.

“I did have a few fears that was it for my season, the paramedics told me my season was over so at that point I was a bit upset.

“The next day it felt ok and I said to Stu (Physio) let's see if we can get myself back playing which has happened.

“I've gone through diversity in my life, I come from a strange footballing background.

“Not many people go from University to non-league then West Ham, so it's just one of those things, I just want to play football because it's the best thing in the world.”

When he has played, Afolayan has shown glimpses of quality that he can bring to this Oldham Athletic side.

He has been used to the physicality of non-league football before, so coming to League Two football wasn’t an issue for him.

In fact, he says that he’s missed the physical nature of lower league football.

“I think playing in non-league has helped massively, it's something I've actually missed.

“I remember my first game against Bury, somebody went through the back of me and I've missed that feeling.

“It's one I enjoy, everybody who knows me knows I like a scrap, so I'm up for it.”

The Easter weekend draws up another busy weekend for Latics, but Afolayan believes the squad will be able to cope over the next four days.

“I think as a squad we're doing quite well, everyone's training well and it'll be a big game at Cheltenham on Friday.

“Hopefully we can get the three points to take into Mansfield Monday which is another big one.

“We've got teams coming up who are in good form in and around us and we've played some tough teams recently.

“We've come out with 10 points, so we just need to keep doing what we're doing.”

As for Cheltenham, Afolayan believes it’ll be a side who will turn out to be another tough test.

However, he is confident that this Latics squad enough quality to beat anyone on their day.

“I think every game in this league is tough, as long as we execute our game plan, we'll be fine because we have more than enough quality in this squad.

“The players in this squad are very good, so if we play as well as I know we can do then we'll be fine.”

Afolayan hasn’t found the net for Latics yet which is something he’s desperate to do before the season comes to an end.

He’s a young man who sets himself high standards, but he believes helping the team first and foremost is the most important aspect of being a footballer.

“I just want to get myself in the starting team and how I was playing when I first got into the side.

“It'd be nice to get a few goals and help the team get as far up the table as possible which can happen in football as you've seen before.

“We'll just take it game by game and see where it takes us come May 4th.”


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