It may be difficult without fans inside stadiums at the moment, yet that hasn’t stopped Marvin Ekpiteta striking up a strong bond with the Blackpool supporters.
The defender, a summer signing from Leyton Orient, has played in front of some of the Pool faithful on just one occasion so far – a 2-0 victory at home to Swindon Town – but he’s still feeling plenty of love and encouragement.
His profile on social media has allowed him to interact and receive positive feedback on his performances week in and week out, which has certainly helped him put in some consistent displays.
“It would be nice to finally get them back in the stadium so that I can build up more of a relationship, but it’s nice that the fans are really supporting me and giving me confidence on social media,” Ekpiteta admitted.
“It helps to show that I can do it at this level and I really appreciate that support. I’ve settled in really well and the fans have definitely helped with that.”
Quickly establishing himself as a regular in the Blackpool defence, the 25-year-old has featured in every league match so far this season and can feel his game improving.
“The more games I play, the better and more confident I feel,” he insisted. “I would say the biggest thing I’ve had to improve is my concentration for the full 90 minutes. The higher you play, the better the teams are and you have to stay switched on every single minute, especially when you play centre-half. Otherwise, you’ll get punished.”
While keeping goals out at one end of the pitch is his main focus, it was in the final third where he made an additional impact in midweek, scoring his first goal for the Seasiders in a 5-0 win at Wigan.
“I was buzzing to finally get off the mark. It’s been a while, so I was happy to score my first goal for Blackpool,” Ekpiteta remarked.
“I sort of had the feeling that it was going to drop because the ball was bouncing around a bit. I just stayed in the right area and took my chance.
“Previously, when I was at Leyton Orient, I scored quite a few. I definitely want to try and chip in again for the team because it does help, especially with goals from set-pieces.”
The all-round performance at the DW Stadium, despite having several players out, was one that the team took great credit from, with Ekpiteta pleased to see Pool’s squad depth shine through.
“It was nice for us to score five goals as a team. It was a good team performance, against a good team and on a big pitch, coming so soon after the game at Brighton. It was the perfect night for me – three points, a clean sheet and a goal,” he said.
“We’ve obviously had a few boys out due to injury and the virus, but we’ve got depth in our squad and those who have stepped in have done a good job.
“It was nice for us to finally put a score like that down as a team and show that we can do it. Now it’s important to keep scoring more and more goals.
“We’ve got to make a push now. We’ve played nearly every team and we know what we’re capable of producing on the pitch.”
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