Akpo Sodje looking to break Scunthorpe United goalscoring duck against brother Sam
IF THERE is one game Akpo Sodje would like to break his goalscoring duck for Scunthorpe United in, this would surely be it.
His home debut, against relegation rivals Portsmouth and with brother Sam on the opposing team. It is the perfect chance to bounce back from Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Crewe.
The 33-year-old front man has yet to find the net in three games for the Iron, though spurned several good chances at the weekend.
His fitness is still not quite at the level he would like after missing a month of action in between leaving Preston North End and arriving at Glanford Park in January.
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Sodje though, insists his confidence is as high as ever and remains certain the goals will come.
"I'm disappointed with the chances I had on Saturday because I didn't put them away," he said. "I'm just a little bit rusty, but it's not an excuse.
"I've seen improvement in my own personal fitness from my first game compared to the last game. I've got myself closer to where I want to be and with just a few more games I can be back to where I was at the start of the season.
"It's simply just match sharpness – getting sharper in front of goal and taking chances, which I've done every other season.
"I'm just going to keep on working hard. It's all about working hard in training and in games as well.
"We're creating chances. We've had loads of chances, hopefully come the next game we'll put them away."
Boss Brian Laws described him as "a confidence player", but Sodje insists he has been in the game long enough to know not to dwell on a performance.
"It doesn't really weigh on my mind," he continued.
"I've grown up in the game and know you don't really need to break yourself down for missing a chance because you have to be there to miss a chance.
"Me being there is a good thing, you've just got to make it right and put the chances away.
"It doesn't affect my confidence. I know I can do it, I just have to get myself sharp and start doing it.
"I don't feel pressure from the crowd or my team-mates – I put myself under pressure because every time I go out on the pitch I want to score a goal.
"That's my job, to score goals. If I don't score I'm really upset with myself but it's all about dusting yourself down and just keeping going.
"I have to move on because the next game is tonight. I can't really sit there and analyse it too much.
"All I've got to do is focus on recovering from the last game and getting myself ready for the game coming up."
That game involves going head-to-head with his younger sibling, who made his debut for Pompey at the weekend and declared he was ready to "smash" Akpo at Glanford Park.
The latter wasn't quite so brutal, but made it clear there will be no room for family ties come kick-off.
"I've got my team and he's got his own team as well," said Sodje, who has not played against any of his brothers competitively before.
"We're just going to go out there and give 100 per cent for our clubs, which I know he's going to do and he knows I'm going to do that as well.
"He knows I'm not going to be thinking, 'we're brothers'. We are brothers and we're very close in our family, but when we're out there we're going to be giving 100 per cent for our clubs.
"It's not going to be a friendly rivalry, people will see that tonight.
"It will be a little bit strange, but as soon as we're out there we're just going to be thinking about the game.
"Back in Nigeria we played against each other in the equivalent to the FA Cup.
"He scored and I lost, but it's going to be a different game tonight. It's going to be the other way round because come tonight, I'm going to put one past him!"