One down, three to go. That is the task for Magnus Okuonghae who is set to make his home Hartlepool United debut tonight against Barnet (kick-off 7.45pm), writes Roy Kelly.
Okuonghae joined Pools on loan on the eve of Saturday’s League Two trip to his former club Dagenham & Redbridge.
I don’t know much about Scotty, but if he keeps playing like that he will be all right.
He will also play in Saturday’s vital home date with Crawley and the trip to Wimbledon on Saturday, October 31, but with the following week an FA Cup tie, his stay may end in his home city on Halloween.
The 29-year-old was superb at the heart of the defence alongside Scott Harrison and is looking forward to teaming up with the former Sunderland centre-half again tonight.
Pools boss Ronnie Moore wanted a talker and that’s what the Londoner is.
“I spoke throughout the match and it’s my game to talk to players around me and help them and I like to organise,” said Okuonghae.
“The centre-half next to me is only a young lad, but he was brilliant and I can see why there’s a lot of talk about him and why he’s held in such high regard.
“I enjoyed playing with him in defence.
“When I spoke to the gaffer he said he is only a young lad who needs guidance out there.
“But he didn’t do much wrong and didn’t need as much guidance as I thought he would – he was brilliant.
“I don’t know much about Scotty, but if he keeps playing like that he will be all right.”
It’s a huge game for Pools – a win against the team two places below them will move them into mid-table though a defeat could quickly drag them back into the lower reaches.
Barnet come here with a record of just one victory in four or three wins in six if you go further back.
But the most important stat is they took three points last time out – a 3-1 home success over York so will come to the Vic in good heart.
However, Okuonghae is looking to help Pools to victory again tonight and help them up the League Two standings before retuning to Luton Town.
“I’m here with Hartlepool to get fit and I want to help Hartlepool as much as they can help me,” he said.
“We can’t play brilliantly every week, but if you can stay strong and solid it can stand you in good stead.
“Saturday was a good game to play in.
“The end result was important. We weren’t great with the ball, but we stayed strong as a team and those defensive values will stand us in good stead.
“They couldn’t break us down.
“Now it’s about getting up to Hartlepool and settling into the place and getting some games and hopefully a couple of wins this week.’’
Okuonghae is on his way back from an achilles problem and Luton boss John Still was keen for him to come to Pools to build his match fitness.
The Nigerian-born defender was busy on his debut at Victoria Road and he does not mind that, especially given his time on the sidelines.
“I’ve played regularly all my career and this is the first time I’ve not played,” said the former Colchester United skipper.
“I’ve had to be patient because the boys at Luton have been doing so well and it’s been hard to get a place in their team.
“So I’m delighted to come out on loan to Hartlepool and get some games.
“I enjoy playing centre-half and it’s important to enjoy it.”