Fit-again Hatters attacker Onyedinma wants to rid himself of his injury-prone tag

Town attacker Fred Onyedinma enters the fray against Blackburn recentlyTown attacker Fred Onyedinma enters the fray against Blackburn recently
Town attacker Fred Onyedinma enters the fray against Blackburn recently
Town forward determined to make an impact at Kenilworth Road

Town attacker Fred Onyedinma is determined to once and for all rid himself of the injury-prone tag that has blighted his time at Kenilworth Road so far.

The 25-year-old moved to Luton from Wycombe Wanderers for an undisclosed fee back in the summer of 2021, scoring and assisting twice on his debut in a 3-0 win over Peterborough United.

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He then only started six league matches before the turn of the year, while the second half of the campaign saw a best of four successive starts in April, beginning six out of the Hatters eight fixtures until he broke down once more with a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the play-offs.

Back in pre-season, Onyedinma then suffered a recurrence of the problem, having to sit out Town’s opening six games of the current campaign, before being named on the bench against Sheffield United, making his return in the 2-1 win at Cardiff, setting up the first goal for Luke Freeman with some excellent wing-play.

The former Millwall youngster began the 2-2 draw against Coventry, also having cameos in the matches with Wigan and Blackburn, as his Town career to date has seen him make 15 league starts, with a further 18 outings off the bench, scoring three goals.

He is now looking for a prolonged bill of clean health to remain in boss Nathan Jones’ plans, saying: “With football, you never know what happens, I’ve come here, and unfortunately I’ve had a few niggles, but I don’t want that to stick.

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“I want to put that behind me and keep injury free as that’s what everyone wants to do.

"You just want to play and show the best of your ability, so hopefully, fingers crossed, that can remain that way.

“I want to show everyone, especially the fans, what I can do and I’ll just have to keep my head down and keep working.”

Having been back in pre-season, playing in the 3-0 win at Hitchin Town, Onyedinma was frustrated he had been forced to spend another spell on the sidelines, continuing: “It was unfortunate as I did so much work trying to get back fit and it’s one of those ones where you do it again and mentally it challenges you as you’re thinking, ‘is it going to happen again?’

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“My hamstring, it was a 3C (large tear), it was more with the tendon.

"I’ve never ever done a hamstring injury, so when I heard that news, it was shocking to me, but that comes with being myself, quite a powerful and pacey player.

“Mentally I just had to deal with it and just come back.

"But the staff, they helped me, took their time with me to just build me up again and I’m grateful to them as well.

"It’s an annoying one, as I did so much work off season and then it happened again.

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"But with football, that’s what happens and I just have to literally keep my head down, do the work again and come back stronger.

"I’m happy to be back now and hopefully I can keep fit and stay in the team.”

Onyedinma doesn’t expect the injury to hinder him in terms of his natural attributes when on the field, even though he doesn’t just want to be known as a pure speed merchant, saying: “I won’t say that because I came back strong and I still have my pace, but I don’t want to feel like I have to rely on just pace, I’m a footballer at the end of the day.

"It is an important part of my game, I just build and luckily I still have that pace.

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“It’s a common injury with football, the groin and the hamstring, especially with the game and how we play.

"It’s an intense game and for a sprinter, if you watch the races and see a sprinter do the 100m and they pull their hamstring, so it’s just something I can even get better by getting stronger with my hamstrings as well.

"I don’t want to see the negatives, I just want to be positive and hopefully see a positive outcome.”

With only 10 games gone of the season though, there is still plenty of time for Onyedinma to do what he does best in a Luton shirt though, as he added: “Even me, watching, that’s what you pay your money for, a bit of excitement.

"So hopefully I can keep doing that and add some end product with assists and goals and we can just push on as a team.”