Bojaj aiming to put Huddersfield Town on the map after trek from Kosovo

Flo Bojaj - Made a dramatic debut off the bench for Huddersfield against MK Dons.
Flo Bojaj - Made a dramatic debut off the bench for Huddersfield against MK Dons.
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FLO BOJAJ is the first to admit that when the opportunity came to have a trial with Huddersfield Town a couple of years ago, he had no idea where the town was.

Perhaps that is understandable. Not only had the striker been born in Kosovo and moved to England with his family as a refugee, but his formative years were spent in the south.

Also, football may have been his passion but he had never been part of a professional club’s Academy so the Terriers had been a long way from his radar.

That three-week trial, however, changed all that and after being snapped up by Huddersfield, the teenager began to cultivate a bright reputation.

Twenty-five goals for the youth team in his first season helped and the fruits of all his hard work paid off with the ultimate reward on Tuesday night, a first-team debut as a late substitute in the victory over Milton Keynes Dons.

Bojaj only came on once the fourth official had indicated there would be four minutes of stoppage time but that was still sufficient time for the 19-year-old to create Nottingham Forest loanee Jamie Paterson’s first goal in Town colours.

Understandably, Bojaj was elated, although the absence of his parents, told to stay in London by their son due to him not expecting to feature, was a big regret.

“My family asked me if they should come up but I didn’t think I would come on,” said Bojaj, after making his debut after three previous occasions when he had failed to get off the bench.

“So, I told them not to bother. I told them to come next game, instead. It is a trek up from London. To be fair to them, they wanted to come up. But I wasn’t sure if I would come on or not.

“It has happened before and I didn’t get on. It is my fault. They are probably gutted. I had a missed call off my dad afterwards. But it was still a great feeling to make my debut, incredible really.”

Bojaj joined Town from Borehamwood Youth Team in the Hertfordshire leagues. He has, though, also represented Albania at Under-17s level after being spotted playing in parks football near his family home.

“I am from Kosovo,” he explained when asked about the journey that took him to not only international youth football but also Huddersfield.

“My family came over as refugees to this country. Through my Albanian heritage, I was able to play for their Under-17s. I was playing Sunday League but an Albanian scout saw me and I went over to join up.

“I had scored a few goals and it was a bit weird. But, like Huddersfield, it was an opportunity.

“As a kid, I hadn’t really been around Academies and I was in a college team when I got picked up by an agent.

“He brought me up to Huddersfield. To be fair, I didn’t know where it was at the start. But this was my big chance and I wanted to take it.

“I had a few nerves early on. It was a big step up to a professional club, though I had an all right time in that first season and scored 25 goals.

“But it was hard at first. I moved into digs, which was obviously well away from my family. It was a bit weird but did me good.

“I was 17 at the time and lived in an area of Huddersfield called Marsh with a lovely family, to be fair. They helped me settle in. I needed a second mum and I got one. It was good.”

Bojaj’s first call-up to the senior squad came in August for the home defeat by Queens Park Rangers. His big chance on Tuesday came via the red card that was shown to James Vaughan last weekend at Ipswich Town, his three-game ban leaving Chris Powell short of strikers.

He turned to Bojaj, who was brought on in the ‘91st minute’ as Powell looked to run the clock down.

What the Town manager probably was not expecting was the teenager claiming an assist with only his second touch.

Bojaj said: “It was unbelievable to make my debut. The gaffer said he would give me a chance because I had done well with the Under-21s. I got that chance and took it.

“I was a bit nervous but I made sure I remembered everything the Under-21s manager, Frankie Bunn, had told me.

“For the goal, I read the ’keeper’s pass and put Paterson in, it was a brilliant finish. The gaffer had told me to press and get hold of the ball, while making sure everyone got up the pitch.

“My first touch was an all right pass. I also could have scored. If Scanz had cut it back, I would probably have got a goal. But I can’t really complain, can I?

“Just from those few minutes, I feel more confident already. When we come back in on Thursday, I think I’ll feel even better. The lads were great to me, encouraging me.

“Every time I come on, I will treat it as if it is my last game. I want to make something happen.”

Manager Powell also praised Wells for his clinical finish, saying: “That’s what Nahki is all about.

“He showed the instinct of a striker to keep calm and finish it. When you get presents like that there’s no one better on the pitch for it to fall to.

“He’s been on the bench for a while but this will do his confidence the world of good.”