Lisbie signs now Slade looks to secure Orient’s other key men
There is still a lot of work to be done insists O’s chief
Orient manager Russell Slade signed a new two-and-a-half year contract on Tuesday night – and then insisted there is still a lot of work to be done.
The 51-year-old has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Brisbane Road until the end of the 2013-14 season.
“I’m delighted to have signed as I have really enjoyed my time here so far,” said Slade.
“But I do believe that there is still a lot of work to be done.”
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One of the first tasks for Slade will be to remould and rebuild a squad following some hectic transfer dealing last week and also tie down several of the key players, including skipper Stephen Dawson, and emerging youngster George Porter, who will both be out of contract in the summer.
And the O’s chief has already agreed a contract extension with striker Kevin Lisbie.
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The 33-year-old, who joined on a short-term deal in September, has signed an 18-month contract extension which will take him to the end of next season.
“If I’m building a side I need to commit myself to the cause too,” said Slade.
“I still want to build something here and make sure we retain the services of some of our players whose contracts are up in the summer.
“It’s important that we keep those players here because we work well together as a unit and to retain the likes of Stephen Dawson and players like George Porter and Kevin Lisbie – these are important players to keep at the football club.”
And Slade is keen to sort their contract situations out quickly. “I want to know whether the players are going to sign as soon as possible, because if they are not going to put pen to paper I need to know, so I know what we are doing,” he said.
Certainly, the complexion of the squad changed last week following the departure of highly-rated left-back Charlie Daniels to Bournemouth in a deal that could eventually be worth �175,000, just a day after the club terminated the contract of Elliot Omozusi.
Those two players were virtual ever-presents in last season’s successful team.
However, Slade moved swiftly to secure the loan signings of QPR winger Lee Cook and Millwall defender Tony Craig and is likely to be looking at more options when the January window opens.
“I feel that I have got a better squad than when I arrived, but at any club there are inevitably going to be some departures and you have to do some rebuilding,” he said.
“You only have to look around. [Fernando] Torres left Liverpool and [Andy] Carroll left Newcastle. Even the bigger clubs lose players.
“But in some ways Carroll’s departure has been the making of Newcastle. You can lose players, but still be a force.”
The O’s boss acknowledges that defensive options are a priority.
“We have lost Elliot and Charlie, but have found Leon McSweeney who has done a terrific job at full-back,” he said.
“But with Tom Clarke returning to Huddersfield after the Exeter game, I need to look at some defensive cover.”
The arrival of Craig until the end of December will fill the void left by Daniels and Slade admits he would be interested in the 25-year-old defender.
“He has slipped down the pecking order, but I know he is highly thought of at Millwall and still has 18 months left on his contract, so he may not be available,” said Slade.
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