LANRE Oyebanjo is bracing himself for another breezy day when York City tackle Plymouth Argyle in Devon this weekend.
The south-west has been worst hit by the recent gale-force weather and, while Oyebanjo confesses that he would rather play in any other conditions, the Minstermen’s right-back reckons the team have proven adept at contending with the strong winds.
Following blustery trips to the coast for meetings with Hartlepool and Fleetwood on successive weekends, City were forced to fight the elements again during Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Cheltenham.
On the prospect of another gusty 90 minutes, Oyebanjo said: “They are, by far, the worse conditions for a defender. I would rather play in snow or rain, anything other than wind, because you just don’t know where the balls are going to go.
“Sometimes, the ’keeper kicks the ball far and, other times, it goes nowhere. That’s hard but it’s the same for both teams and you just have to go out and deal with it.
“It’s part of football and it makes things a bit more interesting for the fans as well, because anything can happen. Whatever the weather, you always have to concentrate but you have to concentrate that bit extra to make sure you get to the ball early because sometimes you think a ball will go out and it stays in.
“The lads have been dealing with that well though. There has been a lot of wind down in Plymouth but Fleetwood was the same, so there’s no reason why we can’t go there and get a good result if we are bright and play at a high tempo.”
Oyebanjo also believes the team have coped well playing into the elements, with the weather actually encouraging attractive football.
At Fleetwood, with the wind in their faces, City snatched a last-minute winner through Wes Fletcher and, on Saturday, Cheltenham’s outfield players were denied a single shot on target during a first half in which they had the advantage of a gale behind them.
“We have played well against the wind,” the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international reasoned.
“You need to get the ball down and play that bit more in the wind because, if the ball is on the ground, that’s the only time you know it will get to the player for sure.”
Oyebanjo went close with a long-range, wind-assisted drive against the Robins but, despite netting three times during his first season with City in the Conference, he is still waiting for his first goal as a Football League player with his last effort coming at Wembley during the FA Trophy final.
The 23-year-old full-back hopes to end that 62-game barren run soon but is not losing any sleep over the matter.
He said: “Hopefully, one day, one of those long-range attempts will go in and I probably should have had another pop on Saturday too.
“But, as long as the team get good results, that’s the only thing that is important. I can get forward quite a bit and would like to add a few more goals.
“If I can set someone else up for a goal, I will be happy with that too, but my main objective is keeping the opposition off the scoresheet.
“My job is to defend really and, if I come off the pitch with a clean sheet, I am happy.”
Ahead of this weekend’s clash at Plymouth, Oyebanjo added the team would continue to get a reward for their efforts if they perform in a similar manner to how they approached Saturday’s meeting with Cheltenham.
He said: “You don’t get anything for free in this league. It’s a very competitive division and Cheltenham were a good side.
“We obviously had a lot of chances so were disappointed not to win but it was still a decent result, a good performance and another point. We’ve got to try to keep getting them because you never know where that can take you.
“We couldn’t have asked for much more and sometimes you get the rub of the green and sometimes you don’t.”