York City right-back Lanre Oyebanjo revels in ‘unbelievable’ play-offs support

York Press: . .

LANRE Oyebanjo wants to reward York City's "unbelievable" supporters by giving them League One football for the first time in 15 years.

The Minstermen last tasted life in the Football League's third-highest echelon in 1999 when a final-day 4-0 defeat at Manchester City relegated the club after dropping into the bottom four for the only time during the season.

Since then, Oyebanjo was a member of the City side that memorably ended eight years of non-League football with a 2012 Conference play-off final victory over Luton.

He is the only player from that team expected to start this evening's Sky Bet League Two play-off, semi-final first leg against Fleetwood at Bootham Crescent and admitted that the passion of the club's fans, who have snapped up every ticket available for both matches with the Cod Army, is a real spur for success.

The 24-year-old right back said: "The fans have been unbelievable home and away this season. We always want to put on a show for the crowd and play the best football we can because they have travelled in their numbers and their great support really does help.

"They have been queuing around the block this week and I had to park in the road during the mornings because I couldn't get in the car park. There is no other team around this area and we have seen the buzz it brings to the whole city.

"You can really see the pride in people's faces and we want to do it for them, if anything, because they are the people who will be living here all their lives and will support the team through thick and thin. It's been a long time since the club has been in League One and we will be giving it our all to get the right results over the next two games."

With few better qualified to compare the preparations for this play-off tilt to the last one, Oyebanjo also added that the current team spirit, garnered during a 17-match unbeaten sequence, is akin to that which inspired the club to a glorious Wembley double.

"The atmosphere is pretty similar to 2012," he revealed. "Everyone is on a high with this nice little run that we have got going and we will be carrying that momentum into these games.

"When we were in the Conference, there was maybe a bit more expectation on us at the beginning of the season to get promoted. Last season was a tough one, but we secured our league status earlier this year and we have pushed on.

"I don't think there is any pressure on us now, but we are all professionals who want to better ourselves. We have our own expectations and we will be going out there believing we can win."

Having emerged triumphant from FA Trophy and play-off semi-finals after travelling to hostile arenas at Luton and Mansfield respectively in 2012, Oyebanjo is not daunted, either, by the prospect of this tie being settled at Fleetwood's Highbury ground next Friday.

"We went up through the same system and tonight's game is a sell-out at home so, hopefully, we will get something and still be in the tie when we go to their place," he reasoned. "We have got a lot of experience in the changing room and have had some good results away from home so I don't see that as a problem."

Oyebanjo scored for the Minstermen in the 2-0 Trophy final victory over Newport and admitted that he would relish a third trip to Wembley in as many years, enthusing: "It's the home of football and a marvellous stage. We have had great experiences as a club there in the past but we have got two tough games to get through first."

No player, meanwhile, enjoyed Wembley more two years ago than Matty Blair, who was on target for City in both games, but now plies his trade for Fleetwood.

Oyebanjo, though, is backing fellow full-back Ben Davies to contain his old team-mate, saying: "Matty Blair is a top player who did wonders for this club and played a big role when we went up. But Ben played against him when he was on loan at Northampton earlier this season so he knows what to expect.

"I might give him a few pointers but Ben is more than capable and has shown this season that, no matter who he comes up against, he can adjust. He's a very good player and I have full confidence that he will get the job done, along with everybody else."

Davies and Oyebanjo are the only players set to play tonight that featured in both games against Fleetwood this term, resulting in a win apiece, with the latter adding: "We are expecting a tough test because they are a good side who finished fourth in the table for a reason.

"They have been consistent throughout the season. They came to our place earlier in the season and beat us 2-0 and it was a hard game.

"At their place, we played well and beat them 2-1 but anything can happen in the play-offs. We are confident though and will be trying to do the same things that have got us to this stage and see how it goes."

City conceded their first goals in open play for 17 matches during last weekend's 2-2 draw at Scunthorpe but, rather than undermining the team's confidence at the back, Oyebanjo feels the team's recovery from 2-0 down could have served as an important psychological exercise.

"No defender likes to concede goals but the most important thing is we came back from behind and that's the first time we have had to do that during our unbeaten run," he pointed out.

"Before last Saturday, maybe teams will have thought that the key to beating us would be getting the first goal but, even though we don't want to be in that position again, we have proven against a very good, promoted side that we have got the character to get results in that situation."

Follow tonight’s Sky Bet League Two play-off clash with our live blog and on Twitter with @daveflettpress and @scarrollpress

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:41pm Sat 10 May 14

chuckabuttie says...

Very well said.
Very well said. chuckabuttie
  • Score: 7

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree