Orient boss prepares for life after Dawson
Now Slade needs a new skipper
When the transfer window slammed shut at 11pm on Tuesday night Orient manager Russell Slade was left with a much clearer picture of what he needs to do to push the club forward.
Slade had lost inspirational captain Stephen Dawson to Championship Barnsley on deadline day.
But that blow would have been tempered by the fact that influential winger Dean Cox had pledged his future to the club by signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal.
Slade was disappointed to see Dawson depart, as Barnsley came up with an improved six-figure transfer package which was accepted by Orient on Tuesday morning and the 26-year-old Irishman finalised his move to Oakwell later in the day.
“Slade admitted: “We did everything in our power for Stephen to stay and he was offered an excellent deal. He has been a very influenial player for us and we didn’t want to lose him.
“However, he made it quite clear that he wouldn’t be signing a new deal and would be following his desire for Championship football in the summer, when he would have been a free agent.”
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Orient chief executive Matt Porter added: “We offered Stephen the best deal we could, but Barnsley could offer him instant promotion to the Championship.”
While Slade was disappointed to see Dawson head north, a six-figure transfer fee will lessen the blow for a player that would have been out of contract at the end of the season.
It means that the club should pick up close to �300,000 for Charlie Daniels who moved to Bournemouth earlier in the season and Dawson – players that would have had no sell-on value at the end of the campaign.
However, the skipper will be hard to replace and since his arrival from Bury in the summer of 2010 he has proved himself to be an excellent leader on the pitch.
He played 75 games for the club and had a big influence on the side – underlined by the fact that Orient have won just once this season when Dawson was not in the team.
But while Slade has to contemplate life without his inspirational skipper, he was delighted to have tied livewire winger Cox down, as he agreed a new long-term deal last Friday.
Slade, who recently signed a contract extension himself, was delighted that Cox put pen to paper and the 24-year-old’s new contract takes him up to the end of the 2014-15 season.
“Long term it’s a great signing for us,” said Slade.
“He didn’t have his normal influential game against Colchester, but he will do in the future.”
Slade has also signed Cardiff midfielder Solomon Taiwo until the end of the season and the O’s manager will have the opportunity to run the rule over the 26-year-old former Daggers man, to see if he can fill the void left by Dawson.
The O’s boss has also captured Derby’s Dean Leacock during the January window, as well as Syam Ben Youssef.
He had hoped to extend Adam Chicksen’s loan deal following Saturday’s game against Colchester.
But the full-back returned to the MK Dons and and it does leave the club with little cover at left-back.
However, the loan window re-opens next week and Porter confirmed that the club are keeping tabs on the situation.
“Both Tony Craig and Adam Chicksen were recalled at the end of their loan spells, but could be available again,” he confirmed.