Barnet goal ace Akinde looks forward to reunion with Crawley Town fans

John Akinde v Oxford United ENGSNL00220120301132939
John Akinde v Oxford United ENGSNL00220120301132939

Former Reds striker John Akinde will be looking to dish out some more punishment to Crawley when he lines up against his former club this Saturday.

Now playing for Town’s League 2 next opponents Barnet, he fondly remembers the Crawley fans during his stay at Broadfield Stadium.

Akinde is now established as an outstanding goalscorer in this division, with remarkable 77 goals in 128 appearances since 2014.

However it was a completely different story at Broadfield Stadium, where he scored just one goal, scored against Shrewsbury Town in the league, in 33 appearances under former bosses Steve Evans and Richie Barker.

In fact the former Crawley forward has scored four goals in the last three appearances against his former club, almost as if he is making a point about what might have been.

Akinde said: “It wasn’t the best of times in my career.

“I wasn’t given an opportunity at Crawley. I wasn’t given enough games.

“I was mostly used in short runs from the bench of 10-15 minutes.

“I made a lot of substitute appearances and it’s very difficult to make much of an impact.

“Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett were doing well and scored a lot of goals. But even when they left I didn’t play much.

“The same thing happened at Portsmouth, I just made substitute appearances.

“I then decided to drop down to Conference Premier with Alfreton and did very well. We had a good squad and I scored 19 goals.

“I just needed to play again. (Alfreton manager now a recruitment role at Burnley) Nicky Law gave me an opportunity.

“I then signed for Barnet where Martin Allen was another manager who gave me an opportunity to play football.

“Before I had always been on the bench, including three years at Bristol City in the Championship from the age of 19. At the end of the day I just wanted to play football.”

Akinde aims to get into the League play-offs with Barnet but still follows Crawley from afar.

He said: “Most of the people there have gone but I did play with Mark Connolly at Crawley and Andre Blackman at Bristol.”

Akinde recalls a successful period at the club when Reds gained promotion from League 2 to 1 in their first season in the Football League.

He said: “The fans were always good to me and I wish them all the best.

“I have good memories from my time there and it was good to play a part in that.”