OTIS KHAN once appeared on hit ITV show Ninja Warrior UK.
And the Grimsby midfielder hopes his side can overcome their next obstacle in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie.
If the League Two Mariners get past Championship Luton, Khan will be praying the draw sets up a dream clash with Manchester United.
Khan was a schoolboy at his childhood team and spent ten years in the United academy.
But he suffered heartbreak at 16 when his beloved Red Devils decided to let him go.
And Khan, 27, suffered more anguish when he missed out on facing United — who meet Championship side Reading on Saturday night — while playing for Yeovil in 2017 after he was sent off in a previous game.
He said: “Fingers crossed, if we beat Luton we will get United in the next round as I haven’t played against them at any level since I left. I’d want to play them at Old Trafford.
“We know playing Luton is going to be tough but we beat Plymouth, who are top of League One, in the third round — so we know we can do it.”
Manchester-raised Khan thought he would be signing scholarship forms with the Old Trafford side, having come through their ranks.
But he suffered a huge blow when he was told he would be leaving, having played alongside Marcus Rashford in United’s youth teams.
Khan said: “I was heartbroken and didn’t go into school for a week afterwards. I didn’t want to face anybody because everyone was under the impression I was going to get a scholarship.
“Thankfully, I managed to get over it and realised that there were other clubs out there.”
Khan signed for Sheffield United, before spells at Yeovil, Mansfield, Tranmere, Walsall and Leyton Orient.
He moved to Grimsby’s Blundell Park last summer and is thoroughly enjoying life on Humberside.
He said: “I thought I had a deal at Sunderland but that fell through, so I went to Leyton Orient.
“The manager, Kenny Jackett, was sacked two or three weeks after I’d arrived.
“The new boss, Richie Wellens, wanted to do things his way and wanted me off the books — but that is how football is sometimes.”
He competed in Ninja Warrior UK — hosted by Ben Shephard, Chris Kamara and Rochelle Humes — in 2016.
Khan recalled: “I was sitting watching TV with my sister when an advert for Ninja Warrior came on and she said I should apply for it.
If you are good enough and if you impress the right people, there will always be opportunities to make it in football.
“I had a good time and managed to reach the semi-final.”
Khan is also looking to boost his international credentials by playing for Pakistan.
His paternal grandfather, Jamil Khan, emigrated to the UK and he still has relatives in the city of Faisalabad.
Khan was first called up to the Pakistan national team when he was 17 but visa complications and the country being banned by Fifa because of third-party interference means he has still not made his international debut.
He is now trying to gain Pakistani citizenship so he can play in their World Cup qualifiers, which take place this year.
The lack of players of South Asian heritage in the professional game has long been a hot topic, with only 16 represented in England’s top four divisions.
And Khan has worked with PFA player inclusion executive Riz Rehman in a bid to help the next generation of footballers from that part of the world.
He is also in regular contact with United youngster Zidane Iqbal, who is of Pakistani and Iraqi descent, to offer his advice and guidance.
Khan said: “If you are good enough and if you impress the right people, there will always be opportunities to make it in football.”