Arsenal loanee James Olayinka returned from injury to make an appearance for Southend United in their draw on Tuesday night.

James Olayinka of Southend in action during Sky Bet League Two match between Southend and Barrow AFC at Roots Hall in Southend, UK - 9th January 2021. Copyright: Holly Allison / TPI / Shutterstock
James Olayinka of Southend in action during Sky Bet League Two match between Southend and Barrow AFC at Roots Hall in Southend, UK – 9th January 2021. Copyright: Holly Allison / TPI / Shutterstock

After more than two months out of action, James Olayinka finally returned to the pitch with a substitute appearance against Walsall this week.

The circumstances of his return weren’t ideal, with Southend United going down to 10 men six minutes before his introduction. But he did enough to help his side avoid conceding and come away with a point from the clash.

Olayinka suffered ankle ligament damage in January, which initially looked like it could end his spell in Southend. He was only on loan until the end of January anyway, so the club could simply choose not to extend it.

But manager Mark Molesley decided to extend the deal anyway, in the hope that Olayinka could return and have an impact in the final couple of months of the season.

After spending some time recovering back in North London, Olayinka returned to training with his loan club at the very end of February, but it was always going to be a bit longer before he made it back onto the pitch.

Thankfully, he was finally fit enough to make the squad again on Tuesday, and he was straight back into the action from the bench.

Southend United remain in the bottom-two, six points behind 22nd-place and seven points away from escaping the relegation zone – given their goal difference is so terrible.

With nine games to go, they’ll need Olayinka and the rest to start picking up some wins fast.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.