Lowestoft Town midfielder delighted with new deal

Lowestoft Town Football Club 2012- 2013 season.Erkan OkayPicture: James Bass

Lowestoft Town Football Club 2012- 2013 season.Erkan OkayPicture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Lowestoft Town midfielder Erkan Okay admitted the prospect of gaining a new deal at Crown Meadow seemed remote midway through last season.

The former Histon man signed a new two-year contract with the Trawlerboys this week but, after an injury-plagued start to the campaign, he couldn't envisage such a scenario.

But Okay shrugged aside his injury troubles to play a key role in Lowestoft's run to the play-off final culminating in the 28-year-old jointly winning the player of the season award alongside Jack Defty.

'The season before last I was playing at right back a lot and I was quite in and out of the side and then I was injured at the start of the season just gone,' he said. 'I really thought that I was going to have to start looking for a new club because I just hadn't had a chance due to injury to show what I could do.

'But I got my chance and thankfully I managed to take it. My preferred position has always been central midfield and I'm glad I was able to make a bit of an impact in there.'

Okay puts his form down to changing his lifestyle away from the pitch.

'I really started to look after myself and I felt a lot better for it,' said Okay, who gave rise to 'Operation Lean' within the Blues ranks which saw all the players ensure they tried to remain in excellent physical shape during the run-in. 'That meant I was able to show what I could do on the pitch because I felt a lot fitter as a result.

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'I had a good season and my intention was always to stay whether we went up or not. I knew my contract was up and I wanted to show the management how much I wanted to stay.'

Okay feels Lowestoft can cast aside the disappointment of losing in the play-offs and, with some fresh faces arriving in the summer, strive for promotion once more.

'I think we only need a couple of additions to freshen up the squad,' he added. 'The amount of games we had to fit in really took their toll in the end – when you see a few fresh faces it perks everyone up.

'I think we've got a really good squad and the table showed that we're not too far away.'

Lowestoft's promotion challenge was undermined by a series of postponements at the start of 2013 and Okay believes the Blues must do everything they can to avoid that situation again.

'It's really important we hit the ground running,' said Okay. 'We have always had to play catch-up on the teams above us and that can really start to wear you down.

'I think we were 10th or 11th in the table midway through the season and that makes life very difficult. The weather really took its toll on us in the end but if we can make a good start then I don't see why we can't go one better.'