Cook boost as Orient face a tough Christmas

QPR man to stay for another month

Orient head into their Christmas programme boosted by the news that Queens Park Rangers midfielder Lee Cook will be staying with the team for another month.

Cook was due to return to Loftus Road following last weekend’s 2-1 win at Notts County, but has agreed to extend his loan and the 29-year-old winger will now stay with Russell Slade’s side over the busy Christmas period.

Cook has played four games for the O’s since he initially joined them at the end of November and has been the perfect replacement for the injured Dean Cox, who the club were hoping to have back in action by the end of the year.

The QPR man will now remain at Brisbane Road until January 21 – which means he will be available for six more matches as Slade’s side look to climb the table.

Cook’s presence will give O’s more creative options, especially when Cox returns as Slade’s side, who have lost just one of their last 12 league games, face a tough festive programme.

They entertain MK Dons on Boxing Day, Charlton Athletic on New Year’s Eve and then go to Stevenage.

Most Read

While Cook is set to keep his place for Monday’s game against the high-flying Dons, Slade will be without defender Leon McSweeney, who is suspended after being sent off at Notts County last weekend.

When the former Hartlepool man switched to left back earlier in the season either Tom Clarke or Jimmy Smith dropped into the back four.

With Clarke now back at Huddersfield following the completion of his loan spell, Smith seems the ideal candidate to fill that role on Monday.

Ben Chorley returned to training last week after suffering with a thigh problem and another option could be to restore him to the heart of the defence and switch Scott Cuthbert to full-back.

But given that the partnership between Terrell Forbes and Cuthbert has started to flourish, the O’s boss may be tempted to keep the status quo at the heart of the rearguard.

If Smith drops into the defence either George Porter or David Mooney are likely to operate down the right.

Striker Jonathan Tehoue will also be pushing for a start after coming off the bench and scoring in the last two games.

But he is well suited to an impact role and Slade said: “He just pops up, right place, right time and two goals in two games coming off the bench is phenomenal.”

Meanwhile, O’s skipper Stephen Dawson has dismissed speculation linking him with several other clubs when his contract is up at the end of the season.

“The talk is a bit rubbish,” said the 26-year-old skipper.

“I haven’t had contact with any people and I think it has all been blown out of proportion. Everyone knows I am out of contract, but then so are lots of other players here. As far as I’m concerned it is all rubbish.”