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FC Halifax Town: Odelusi happy to be teaming up with Fullarton again

Town boss Jamie Fullarton with new signing Sanmi Odelusi
Town boss Jamie Fullarton with new signing Sanmi Odelusi

New Town signing Sanmi Odelusi says manager Jamie Fullarton was a “massive” factor in joining Halifax.

The winger has penned a one-year contract at The Shay after leaving Cheltenham at the end of last season.

He worked with Fullarton at Bolton when the Halifax boss was in charge of the club’s under 21 side.

Odelusi, 24, says Fullarton has had a highly influential role in his development.

“I broke into the first-team at Bolton when I was playing under Jamie,” he says. “He helped me a lot with my game and improved me.

“Just things like understanding the game, understanding the runs I should make, when to attack, when to go forward, the right time to create things. He also got me fitter.

“In my time there, I also grew as a person, on and off the pitch.

“Jamie brings a lot more than just tactics and how to play football, he brings more to life and teaches you life skills.

“We’ve always kept in touch, and he was intrigued to see how my career went after he left Bolton.

“Obviously he had a short spell at Notts County, but in life you need experiences and to be able to learn from things that don’t go right, that’s how you improve.”

Fullarton converted Odelusi from a striker to a winger while at Bolton.

“When he came into Bolton he said “Sanmi, I want you to be a winger” and I wasn’t sure because I’d always been a striker growing up,” explained Odelusi, who left London aged 16 to sign for Bolton.

After a handful of first-team appearances for the club in the Championship, Odelusi had loan spells at MK Dons and Coventry in League One.

he then joined Wigan Athletic but went out on loan to Rochdale and Blackpool in order to get more football.

He then joined Colchester at the start of last season before spending the second-half of the campaign at Cheltenham.

While in the QPR academy as a youngster, Odelusi, who is best friends with Wolves striker Benik Afobe, played with Raheem Sterling, while he was also a team-mate of fellow England star Deli Alli at MK Dons.

“There was always something a bit different about them than everyone else,” Odelusi says of the England duo. “Their finishing ability, their cleverness and their knowledge of football was greater than everyone else’s.

“That’s why they’re about to play for England in the World Cup.”

Halifax is Odelusi’s ninth club as a professional, and one where he hopes to rekindle his enjoyment of playing after a nomadic last few years.

“You want to be settled as a player and be able to enjoy your football,” he said.

“I’m 25 soon and I just want to get back to enjoying football again.

“The last time I did that was probably at Bolton and my time at Coventry, where the fans were great.

“But that’s a long time ago now. The main thing for me is to get back to enjoying my football, and see what comes with it.

“There are lots of clubs on my CV. People will say 25 is still young but I want to prove to myself that I can do it.

“The main thing is to enjoy my football and get back smiling again.”

Odelusi, who describes himself as an “exciting, explosive” player, says “a few” other clubs were interested in him.

But he said of Halifax: “It’s a big club. I’ve been to the stadium to have a look round, but I’ve played there before when I was with Bolton in a pre-season friendly so I was familiar with the club, the stadium and the fans anyway.

“But Jamie is a big factor in me coming here. He wants me to get back to my best and show people what I’m about.

“It came down to what Jamie has done for me in the past, how he’s helped me, that’s what made me sign.”

Town boss Fullarton said after signing Odelusi: “I’m both delighted and fortunate to have Sanmi on board as there was strong competition from Football League clubs for his signature.

“I am really looking forward to working with him again and I have no doubt he will make a telling contribution to our season.”