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Odejayi: Fond Memories

15 March 2013

Rotherham striker Kayode Odejayi speaks exclusively to ahead of his return to Whaddon Road.

Kayode Odejayi was a real favourite here at the Abbey Business Stadium during a four year spell as a Cheltenham Town striker.

This weekend he will return to his old stomping ground but as a Rotherham United player - his first return since departing the Robins for Barnsley back in 2007. Since then he has played in the Championship for the Tykes, had a loan spell with Scunthorpe, played under John Ward at Colchester and now appears under the stewardship of Steve Evans at The New York Stadium.

Kay has made 37 appearances this season with 18 of those coming as a substitute and he has scored 5 goals. It's expected that the striker will play some role in Saturday's game and Kay admitted it would be an emotional moment for him.

"I'm looking forward to coming back to Whaddon Road this weekend," he said.

"Cheltenham's results are one of the first I look for after the game because I had a lot of good times there. It was a great fours years for me and I have so many fond memories. It's a massive game and will mean a lot to me but obviously I'll be looking for a Rotherham win."

It was clear that Kayode enjoyed his time with the Robins and his four year spell at the Abbey Business Stadium really put him on the map as a real danger man in the lower leagues of the Football League.

He is a former Bristol City youngster and came to the attention of former Cheltenham manager Bobby Gould when he was scoring goals for Forest Green Rovers in non-league. He became a Robin in 2003 and helped the club achieve promotion into League One via the 2006 League Two play-off final win over Grimsby Town. Kay made 174 appearances for the club during his four year spell and he scored 34 goals during that time but his highlights were promotion and League One survival.

"Winning promotion with Cheltenham is a big highlight for me but obviously surviving in League One was a great achievement too," said Kay.

"I will always look back on my time with the club with many happy memories. I obviously know Scott Brown still and Mark Yates and Steve Book were still playing at that point! Obviously I know the backroom staff and Jason Taylor down there so I'm really looking forward to seeing them too."

Kay is now a Rotherham United player of course and will be part of a side looking to take three points off the Robins this weekend as the promotion race heats up in npower League Two. Both Cheltenham and Rotherham are still within spitting distance of the automatic promotion places and this weekend's game is shaping up to be a real battle.

The Millers have been in inconsistent form of later but they will be looking to build upon a solid point away at Wycombe in midweek and Kayode admitted the whole club's focus is on playing League One football next term.

"There has been a very specific focus on achieving promotion here at Rotherham because of the new stadium, the fanbase and the history of the club," he admitted.

"It's a massive club and it should be playing higher than league two. Hopefully we can achieve that promotion this season.

"I've enjoyed the season so far. I started quite well but since then it has been a little stop start for me but I'm still playing my part. I'd like to start more games but as long as the team is doing well and I'm doing my bit - I'm happy. Hopefully we can achieve our objectives come the end of the season."

Kayode will be the opposition this weekend but he is a player who gave many great memories to Cheltenham Town supporters including the goal versus Chester that led to the club's historic FA Cup tie with Newcastle United.

Since then he has made appearances for Nigeria at international level and scored a famous FA Cup quarter-final goal for Barnsley which dumped Chelsea out of the competition. This weekend he faces the Cheltenham Town supporters for the first time since his departure and he told that he was hoping for a good reception.

"Hopefully I'll get a good reception!" he laughed.

"You never know being a former player but whether I do or don't, I know it's part and parcel of the game. I'm really looking forward to coming back and hopefully I do get a nice reception."

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