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READ | I’m enjoying my run in the team - Haks

17 March 2023

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It may seem obvious, but every footballer loves nothing more than crossing that white on a Saturday and heading into the heat of battle.

Having signed for the Millers last summer from Scottish outfit Hamilton Academical, Hakeem Odoffin found minutes at a premium due to a number of factors, mainly the form of others in his position limiting his opportunities.

This term, the midfielder has played a prominent role in the middle of the park for the Millers and has won praise for his all-action displays, as well as chipping in with a couple of vital goals against Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers since the turn of the year. Adding his third of the season against Preston North End in midweek.

For Odoffin, the key to his form has been getting playing time out on the pitch.

"Obviously I hadn't played League One before last season and when you arrive in a new league, you want to have a run of games to just adjust to it, and be given the opportunity to get into the flow of the level,” he told

"I've always said it's just important to be ready whenever you're called upon and the Gaffer has given me licence to go out and play.

“Nothing is a given, there's no promise that I'll play every week but if I can make my stamp when I do play, it puts us in good stead and can hopefully help the team win. 

"Football is football. Ever since I was a kid I've not taken things personally in the game, so I never had a bad word to say about the previous management team in terms of not giving me much playing time.

“There are so many factors that go into it and we had Dan [Barlaser], Ollie [Rathbone] and Wilesy playing at the top of their game last year, too. The competition was fierce and it still is.

"As a footballer though, you always want to be playing and so I'm more than happy that the Gaffer feels like he can trust me in games and I just want to keep repaying him for that trust by performing on the pitch.”

Hakeem Odoffin

Odoffin also praised manager Matt Taylor – who arrived at AESSEAL New York Stadium in October – for giving him the license to go out and play to his strengths.

RUFC v Preston - 066 - Hakeem Odoffin - GOAL.jpg

"Since he came in and he's seen me in training, he's said to me that he wants me to be that anchor sometimes, that defensive-minded player out of possession,” Odoffin explained when asked about his relationship with the boss. 

“But then in possession, he wants me to play in straight lines, get in the box, get on the end of crosses and get on the end of anything that drops for me. 

"It's nice because I feel like he's given me that licence to get forward but also be defensive-minded, so I'm able to play in both roles.

"I'm really enjoying the role, but I'll play wherever he needs me to play at any time. If it helps the team, I'll do what I can.”

Hakeem Odoffin

The recent victory over Queens Park Rangers ensured the Millers the 40-point mark and despite recent setbacks against Birmingham City and Preston North End, Matt Taylor’s men still sit five points above the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s hosting of Cardiff City.

Whilst admitting he and the rest of the team are pleased to have hit the figure, he insisted that there was still work to be done to achieve their goals.

“There always has been a fantastic togetherness here, in fairness. Even when things weren’t going too well results-wise, the lads were still very much in it together.

“I think the team spirit we have is a big reason why we were able to turn it around and why we’ve been playing really well of late.

"It's about maintaining these little runs to get as many points as possible, so that come the end of the season, we can celebrate staying in the league.

“That's the main goal at the moment, it's about staying in the league and getting as many points as possible. 

"The 40-point mark was great for us to hit, but we need to keep going. There’s still a lot of work to do any many more points to be one if we’re going to be where we want to be come May."

Hakeem Odoffin

“It's all about setting those markers and hitting them. We've done that now, it's in the past, focus is onto the next one. Like I said, getting as many points as possible is the main goal and that starts again with the next game.”

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