HOPE AKPAN is relishing the chance to forge a midfield partnership with Dannie Bulman.
The 20-year-old has found opportunities to impress limited, although he has rarely been far from the first team and manager Steve Evans has been keen to talk up the Liverpudlian’s talent this season.
Akpan was drafted in at the 11th hour to face Gillingham after defender Claude Davis pulled out with a virus, and turned in an impressive display alongside the experience of Bulman.
And he kept his place against Rotherham as Crawley recorded a third straight win.
Akpan said: “I am always itching to play, it’s always great to be part of a winning team.
“I have been training hard so when my chance would come I would be ready I think every time I have played I have done OK, so hopefully now I can have a little run in the team and get promotion for the lads.”
Akpan, plucked from Everton reserves in the summer, began the season alongside Bulman in midfield, as the pair started against AFC Wimbledon in the Carling Cup preliminary round in July. But his dismissal in that game saw him miss the start of the league campaign before a run of seven starts in nine games between August and mid-September.
Akpan was then a casualty of the heavy defeats to Morecambe and Swindon, making just four starts since then before the weekend. And now he is eager to make up for lost time.
Of his partnership with Bulman, Akpan said: “We mix it up. Sometimes I go sometimes he goes, he is a lot more experienced than me and knows the game so I think I work well with him. It is a great experience and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Not playing is hard, but I am in a proper first team here. It’s always going to be tough, I enjoy the competition and it makes me a better player.”