Magnus is riding on a wave of adrenaline

MAGNUS Okuonghae is playing on “adrenaline” at the moment.

MAGNUS Okuonghae is playing on “adrenaline” at the moment.

While the free-scoring U’s have caught the eye as an attacking force, both at Deepdale (4-2 win over Preston) and Adams Park (3-3 draw against Wycombe), the defence has creaked at times.

Centre-half Okuonghae, back in the team after a serious ankle injury sidelined him from November last season, expects the U’s to settle down as a defensive outfit, after this initial flurry of goals.

“We’ve conceded lots of goals, but maybe conceded one or two too many,” admitted Okuonghae.

“There’s a lot of adrenaline from all teams at the moment, we are all excited to get going. So things are not as sure as they should be defensively.

“The goals we conceded at Preston were a bit sloppy, but I thought Wycombe scored some good goals in a typical cup tie.

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“We will be looking to sure things up a bit now at home,” added Okuonghae.

Ex-Dagenham & Redbridge stalwart Okuonghae became the forgotten man of last term, due to his ankle injury – his last appearance of 2010-11 was a 3-2 home win over Hartlepool on November 20, meaning he missed the last 29 league games.

But he was nursed back during pre-season, by manager John Ward, and following his return at Preston, he is set to chalk up his 60th league appearance for the U’s today.

“I have had such a long wait,” confirmed Okuonghae.

“The last league game I played before Preston was in November, so I’ve been on adrenaline since the first day back on July 1.

“I’ve put the injury behind me now, and for me the first home game is the big one for me.

“I think we played well on Tuesday night, but you can’t read too much into it. Managers are a bit more tactical with the teams they pick, and the whole mind-set is different.

“But we would expect to get a result at home.”

Okuonghae is set to resume his partnership alongside Matt Heath in the heart of defence, with Pat Baldwin waiting in the wings.

But there was a time when Okuonghae looked set to leave the U’s over the summer, following an offer lodged by League One rivals Charlton.

That bid was rejected, and the Addicks did not follow it up with an improved offer.

Okuonghae explained: “I was on a beach in Egypt when the gaffer (Ward) rang to tell me the news. It was flattering, but it wasn’t to be.

“The Charlton interest caught me by surprise, but there are no hard feelings, I just want to play football.”

Okuonghae’s current contract expires next summer.

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