The centre-back is no stranger to it, having shown the fitness and resilience to go into today’s League Two visit of Bristol Rovers on the back of 50 consecutive league appearances.
“Hard work is the number one thing, there’s no dodging it,” insists the Irishman.
“Everyone’s on the same page and has to put in the same shift. If you don’t, you won’t be on the pitch, it’s as simple as that.
“That’s the biggest thing for me, working Monday to Friday you have to put it in as he says or you won’t turn up on a Saturday.
“The word culture gets thrown around a lot these days but you can only work on that from Monday to Friday, you can’t turn up on a Saturday, get into a team huddle and start spouting some daft words to try and get guys going; it has to be done on the training pitch, putting in the hard yards knowing on Saturday you shouldn’t have to speak.”
Of his own resilience, he adds: “I’ve been lucky I’ve not had too many injuries and been able to play through the niggles I’ve had.”
With Niall Canavan injured, O’Connor has formed a new partnership with Yann Sanogo’o.
“He’s fitted in pretty seamlessly,” says O’Connor. “I’m not sure he’s played in a back four for quite a number of years but he’s worked very hard.
“As a centre-half a big part of your game is communication and between the four of us there’s a fair amount of experience. He’s a good enough pro to slot in.
“Since Naz has dropped out I’ve had to slide across but I’ve done it before and once you’re defending properly it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.”