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Colchester United’s Ibehre: Leyton Orient will always be a special place for me

17:23 11 September 2014

Colchester United

Colchester United's Jabo Ibehre is set to make another return to where it all started on Saturday. Pic: Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

Former Leyton Orient favourite Jabo Ibehre will make another return to a place full of lots of good memories on Saturday.

Jabo Ibehre playing for Orient against Birmingham City in January 2007. Pic: Simon O'ConnorJabo Ibehre playing for Orient against Birmingham City in January 2007. Pic: Simon O'Connor

The 31-year-old rose through the ranks at Brisbane Road and spent eight years with Orient, playing 243 games and scoring 41 goals along the way.

And the front man, now with Saturday’s opponents Colchester United, admits it is always nice coming back to the ground where he spent his early years.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming back to Orient even if I am playing against them,” said Ibehre.

“The games have generally been tight between the O’s and whoever I have played for, but it’s extra special to come back and see friends and family.

Jabo Ibehre scoring in his final game for the O's against Bristol Rovers in 2008. Pic: Simon O'ConnorJabo Ibehre scoring in his final game for the O's against Bristol Rovers in 2008. Pic: Simon O'Connor

“At lot has changed around the area from when I was growing up, and it’s all been for the better. You can see the Olympic Stadium in the distance.

“The management and their staff may change every now and again as they do at most clubs, but behind the scenes it’s nice to always see so many familiar faces at the club from the stewards to the staff and most of all the fans as well.”

Ibehre is a doubt for the clash with the O’s at Brisbane Road this weekend, having missed Colchester’s goalless draw at Walsall last Saturday with a knee injury.

He had not trained up until yesterday (Wednesday), but if he does come through and features for the U’s, it would be another special day for the striker.

“I’ve scored against Orient the season before last in a 2-1 loss for Colchester and I did the same in another defeat for MK Dons,” he added.

“It’s always nice to go back and it is always a weird feeling playing against the team that you owe so much to. I haven’t trained up until Wednesday so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Ibehre watched on as the O’s missed out on promotion to the Championship on penalties at Wembley back in May.

But the striker feels that will only make Russell Slade’s even more hungry for success this term.

“I was watching on TV and it was disappointing to see them miss out in the way they did, that’s cruel,” he added.

“But it was still a great season for them and even though they’ve missed out, they have now got the taste for it and I’m sure they will all want to go one better and achieve automatic promotion.”

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