Birthday boy Odejayi is maturing

BIRTHDAY boy Kayode Odejayi is maturing according to manager John Ward.

The powerful striker – who turns 29 today – bounced back from a confidence-sapping midweek performance at Notts County to produce a highly influential display in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Walsall.

Asked if he had to give his imposing Nigerian a pep-talk after his disappointing evening at Meadow Lane – Odejayi missing a glaring chance that night – Ward said: “No I didn’t. He’s coping with that sort of thing much better now. Years ago at Cheltenham I had to do that with him but he’s matured now.”

Odejayi was unplayable at times on Saturday and was unfortunate not to get a goal to show for his efforts having headed against the bar in the first half.

Ward continued: “Wherever I go other managers talk to me about Kayode and they tell me what a tough opponent he is.

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“They use the word threat and he is a threat, not only to score goals but he also opens up room for people because opponents can’t leave him alone.

“I just hoped he’d get a goal today but he’s happy enough with what he’s done and he’ll probably have less influential games where he’ll score.”

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Reflecting on the game, Odejayi – a gentle giant off the pitch – said: “There was a lot of goalmouth action, a lot of near misses and I thought today might have been the day we scored three or four but it wasn’t meant to be.

“Of course I’m disappointed not to have scored but I think there’s a few boys disappointed not to be on the scoresheet!

“For the team and on a personal level it was good to come back after a disappointing game (at Notts County).

“It’s great to be back in the team but we’ve got a good squad here and I know I can’t take my place for granted.”

Colchester United travel to high-flying Peterborough tomorrow night looking to end a miserable away run which has seen them go over nine hours without a goal. For a full preview, see tomorrow’s EADT.

Meanwhile, the U’s have moved the kick-off of their home match against Exeter City on Saturday, March 26 forward to 1pm so that supporters can also watch that day’s England v Wales game (3pm).

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