Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has assured Mark O’Hara he’s got a key role to play this season – and the midfielder wants to put a frustrating year behind him too.
The 25-year-old has had a stop-start time since Alexander arrived as manager at the Scottish Premiership club in January. He spent three months out with a concussion injury earlier this year before a hamstring injury in the first game of this term’s pre-season. O’Hara made his return against Dundee in the Premier Sports Cup last weekend.
It’s been a tough period for O’Hara, but the Motherwell midfielder is hoping to get back to the craft he loves: “I had worked really hard off-season and it was unfortunate. I went to run right away and my hamstring went. But it’s been feeling good the last few weeks so I am good to go now.
“I am someone who has never really had any problems throughout my career and it’s been testing for me this year. I love football, I live and breathe it. When I go home that’s all I think about it. It has been very frustrating but I am putting in the hard work over the last few weeks to get back to full fitness.
“We played a closed-door game the other day and I was surprised at how good I was feeling, so I am raring to go. It’s time for me to kick on now and play a big part this season. The way the manager has spoken to me, he sees me as a big player.”
Alexander’s billing is something O’Hara wants to live up to: “Personally I always look to prove that I’m more than capable of being one of the top players and someone he can trust. From the conversations I have had with him, he knows that. I just want to help the team now.
“There is nothing worse than watching and not being a part of it. It was reassuring with the manager and the communication is brilliant from the players. At no point do any of the boys let you feel down. I was out for six weeks but it flew in.”
O’Hara played a variety of positions under previous manager Stephen Robinson and Alexander last season. He featured at centre-back, defensive midfield and in his natural central midfield role last term, with going up and down the pitch O’Hara’s ideal position.
He explained ahead of today’s league match with Livingston: “The manager says he sees me as a box-to-box midfielder. Since I have been here I have been unfortunate that other players have been injured and I haven’t really had a run in that position.
“But that’s where he wants to use me and that’s where I see myself so hopefully he can get the best out of me. I am someone who likes to get in the box and score goals and contribute up that end of the pitch so hopefully I can start that off on Saturday.”
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