Four games. Eight days.
This is the scale of the task that Rotherham United will face within the next week, starting with today’s home clash with Queens Park Rangers and ending against Middlesbrough at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Wednesday, with battles against Coventry City and Birmingham City inbetween.
Even for a professional athlete, the thought of such a run can be a daunting prospect, but for Chiedozie Ogbene, it is a challenge he is relishing. After seven months out, Ogbene admits he’s raring to go and will give everything as the team continue to fight for their Championship lives, starting tonight against the Rs.
“This is a crucial part of the season and we will need everybody. I believe I can help the squad and that is what I want to do between now and the end of the season,” Ogbene told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It has been a long road for me, it was initially meant to be four months but it took a little longer, just to be in contention to play again is a great feeling.
“I’m hungry right now, not playing for so long has given me the determination to give everything I can in every situation. I’m looking forward to the games and I’m excited to give everything I can to help the team. There are a lot of games coming up and we need to take it day by day."
“The way we’ve trained this week and the way the camp is, there is a big belief here and I think that is what we really need.”
The flying-winger made his long awaited return to first team action as a second half substitute against Wycombe Wanderers on Easter Monday.
And while he admits it wasn’t the result that he or any of the team wanted, it was still a special moment for him to be back on the hallowed turf again.
“I’m feeling great, I’ve got back into the swing of training now and I’m not worrying about my knee as much because it isn’t giving me any problems. With all the training I’ve been doing I feel like I’ve got my fitness back up and I’m in a good place now."
“I was just so happy to get that adrenaline rush again and be on the pitch again with the boys. I did feel a little rusty in terms of my decision making and other aspects of my game but I was just delighted to get back out there.
“After missing so much football, I am grateful that the gaffer had faith in me to put me in at half time. I’m happy for that day, obviously the result could have been better, but to get back playing again was such a weight off my shoulders.”
Securing another season of Sky Bet Championship is high on the agenda for everyone at Rotherham United, but for Chieo, it means just that little bit more.
Having been so cruelly robbed at a first real tilt at this level, he is now determined to give everything between now and the end of the campaign, to ensure he has the opportunity to test himself in England’s second tier in 2021/22.
“I think a lot of us feel like we deserve to play in the Championship, but we need to go out and earn the right. We are all fighting for another chance in this league and for me personally I’m desperate to get another stab at it with this team and this club."
“I’m going to do everything possible to offer my qualities and my commitment and hopefully we will have enough to get over the line. I would be lying to you if I was to say I don’t think we have what it takes. I said It at the start of the season and I’m saying it now.
“The belief is there, we had a bad run of injuries and missed some key players at crucial times. I think having a lot of them back now will really help the team and it’ll be a big boost for everyone.”
Read about Chieo’s first experience of a long-term injury, his road to recovery and his message of thanks to the supporters in our Birmingham City edition of Rotherham’s New Yorker.
To order a copy online, please click HERE.