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Bayo leads from the front

17 August 2014

Striker aims to show the way to team success

Bayo Akinfenwa says he will never back down in the face of a challenge after playing his part in defying Luton Town yesterday.

Wimbledon’s experienced number 10 aims to lead by example in the pursuit of success and that includes sacrificing goals and personal glory for the good of the team. 

Bayo has yet to hit the target so far in three games for his new club, but his contribution has been hailed as “immense” by manager Neal Ardley and he set-up the winner at Luton Town yesterday for Matt Tubbs, who has three goals already.

Speaking to Rob Cornell during an interview for Dons Player after the 1-0 win at Luton, Bayo said: “As a striker you get judged on goals, but people know that my game is not just about scoring, even though I’ve got a decent goals ratio. I’m doing everything but score and I thought my header today was in. But I’m a big guy who can take a lot on my shoulders and I’m trying to lead by example. If we get through the league and get promoted and I don’t get bundles of goals – which I’m used to – then I’ll be happy. I mean that wholeheartedly because if the team is doing well then I’m doing well.

“I will take the hustle and bustle and let Matt get the goals. Matt is sheer quality, you can see that in training every day and when you look at the goals he’s scored throughout his career. His finish today left the goalkeeper with no chance. The more we play together the better our understanding will become. We will start knowing each other’s runs and it will become second nature. We’re building that relationship on the pitch and if we can stay injury-free then hopefully the team will have a bright season ahead.”

Bayo believes his early season displays have shown one or two doubters that he still has it in him to cope with a packed fixture list – and he thrives on proving people wrong.

“I’m feeling strong and getting through games well,” added Bayo. “There was a rumour going around that I could not play two games in a row and I didn’t like that. I’ve played 90 minutes now for three games in succession and long may that continue.

“If I’m not getting abuse from opposition fans in a game then maybe I’m being ineffective. If they’re getting on my back I must be doing something right. Steve McNulty was a tough competitor today, but I love the hustle and bustle and I’ll never back down from an opponent. I’ll always give as good as I get.”

 The full five-minute interview with Bayo Akinfenwa appeared on Dons Player this morning.

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