Deji Oshilaja is aiming to “embrace” the pressure that comes with his role as captain and he's determined to lead Wimbledon into the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.
“It’s a lot to take on, but it’s not something that hinders me or something that bears down on me,” said Deji, ahead of tomorrow’s second round clash at non-league FC Halifax Town. “It’s something that I embrace.
“I’m here to captain the club because the club and the staff believe in me. My team-mates believe in me and I‘ll carry the burden for them. I just want my team mates to go out there and perform to the best of their abilities. We’ve got some great players in the team and as soon as we can get them firing and playing at their best, I’m sure we’ll climb up the table.
“I’ve heard that the supporters’ coaches are leaving at 5.30 am in the morning on Saturday and the boys really appreciate that support. We have to put in a performance for them and do it for the club too. We will give it everything we’ve got and I’m sure we can go there and get the win.”
Deji has also hailed the impact made by Interim boss Simon Bassey and his assistant Steven Reid – the former Premier League star and Republic of Ireland international defender – since the pair took over recently.
“It’s been excellent,” added Deji. “Bass has come up with some new ideas and Steven Reid has that Premier League quality. He’s come in and changed training around and the boys are enjoying it. We’re only going to get better. It will take a few games, but I feel we’re getting better. We’re taking steps in the right direction. The performances on the whole have improved.”
Deji’s immediate is focus is on guiding the Dons into Monday night’s draw for the third round, which takes place early next year. Wimbledon’s captain is in no mood for being on the end of a cup shock at the Shay Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to put ourselves in the third round,” said Deji. “We really dug in against Haringey. It’s an opportunity to step away from the league again and get ourselves into the next round. Everyone is going to be ready and raring to go.
“I think the boys were concentrating against Haringey, but the conditions weren’t great. We were very professional though and limited them, but didn’t take our chances. I think we’ll go there though where it’s a grass surface, a big pitch and we’ll try and play our game. Hopefully we’ll get a few more chances and try and put them away.
“I’ve spoken with Bass and he’s done his homework on them and he’s thorough with the work he does. He’ll have a game plan and we’ll try to implement that. We’re going there as a League One team, a few leagues ahead of them. We’re not going there to contain them, we’re going there to win the game and hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans”
The full interview with Deji Oshilaja is available in full by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above. An interview with Simon Bassey ahead of Halifax is also on iFollow.