“I’m looking forward to the future here...”
Brimming with delight at the prospect of becoming a U, Fejiri Okenabirhie believes Cambridge United are the perfect club for the next chapter in his footballing journey. Whilst facing adversity in a strenuous year on the sidelines through injury, he’s only hungry for more immediate success.
“I’ve been scoring goals at League One level for the past couple of years, so it (achilles tendon injury) was obviously a real setback. But it’s in the past now, it’s behind me and this is a fresh start so I’m looking forward to helping the team and getting back to my best.
“Speaking to Mark Bonner and Ben Strang played a big part in me coming here, they really believe in me and want to help me get back to my best – that’s what you want to hear as a player, especially after having tough times. It was an easy decision to come here.”
The 26-year-old knows a thing or two about this level, increasingly important considering the unpredictable nature it conjures up each week. The focal point at Shrewsbury Town and most recently Doncaster Rovers, where he bagged 25 goals altogether, Fejiri adds a new element to United’s dangerous attack.
“Over time, I’m going to keep building up my fitness and I’m sure I’ll get back to where I was – hopefully even better. It’s just about getting back to those standards and helping Cambridge along the way.
“There’s a lot of good forwards here. And with the way the club have progressed recently, it’s exciting times and a great environment – we’re all on the same page.”
Familiar with United strikers Sam Smith and Joe Ironside, U’s fans will be intrigued to see the reconnected links combine to cause havoc in the third tier.
“Speaking to Sam beforehand, he only had good things to say. Even just today meeting everyone, they’re all so friendly and welcoming. But from what I heard, I expected nothing else.”
Joining a team with momentum on their side is also an intriguing offer – you get the sense that that confidence will soon translate to the new forward once he gets minutes on the pitch.
“I’ve got trust in what the manager has planned for me. But I know where I’m at and it’s good to know I’ll have that opportunity to make an impact when I’m back. I’m ready to get back to work and build up my levels. I’m excited to play football again.”
With his short-term aims made clear, you do have to be careful looking far into the future. Fejiri knows that all too well, considering he hasn’t been able to enjoy action since May 2021. Despite that, the fire in his belly means you wouldn’t bet against this one ending in success.