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Wily Kayode can threaten Cheltenham

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

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wdsport@bepp.co.uk

Kayode Odejayi would love to see Cheltenham Town win promotion this season, as long as it is not at the expense of current club Rotherham United.

The Nigerian striker is set to face his former employers for the first time at the New York Stadium today, five years after leaving for Barnsley in a then-club record deal of £200,000.

Odejayi is sure to provide a major test for the Robins' backline, which has not been breached for 420 minutes.

He said Cheltenham would always hold a special place in his heart, having spent four seasons with the club that kick-started his professional career.

"This is one of the fixtures I have been looking forward to since I signed for Rotherham," Odejayi said.

"It will be good to see a few familiar faces and I'll always have fond memories of my time at Cheltenham.

"Before I went there, I'd only made a few substitute appearances for Bristol City in the Football League, but the last two seasons at Cheltenham were good and led to a move to the Championship."

Odejayi joined Bobby Gould's Cheltenham from Forest Green for £5,000 in the summer of 2003, but it was not until the 2005/06 campaign that he began to consistently terrify defences with his speed and strength.

He scored the goal at Chester that booked Cheltenham's televised FA Cup fourth round tie against Newcastle United and helped John Ward's side win promotion via the play-offs later that season.

He then top-scored the following campaign with 15 goals in all competitions as the Robins staved-off relegation from League One for the first time in their history, finishing 17th.

"I definitely want Cheltenham to do well, especially with Mark Yates in charge, who I played with during my first season there," Odejayi said.

"Once we get Saturday out of the way I wish them all the best, but, of course, I will be doing my best for Rotherham because everyone at the club is geared up for promotion this season."

Odejayi has won international recognition with Nigeria since leaving Cheltenham as well as scoring an FA Cup quarter-final winner for Barnsley in their victory over Chelsea in his first season at Oakwell.

"I've had some good times since and I'd like to think I have improved as a player since I left Cheltenham," he said. "The pace and power is still there, but, hopefully, I've become a more complete player."

The only players in the current Cheltenham squad who played in the same side as Odejayi are goalkeeper Scott Brown and defender Keith Lowe, who was on loan from Wolves at the time.

"It'll be good to see Scotty and I've spoken to Ian Weston (sports therapist) a few times since I left," he added.

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