Orient defender James could miss Crawley trip

Cook and Rowlands push for starts

Orient defender Lloyd James could be struggling to make Saturday’s encounter at League One new boys Crawley Town.

The defender was substituted just two minutes into the second half during Wednesday night’s 5-0 defeat by Everton in the Capital One Cup.

Manager Russell Slade said: “He rolled his ankle in the first half and we patched him up at half time and thought he’d be okay, but he was struggling and we had to make a substitution.”

Leon McSweeney stands by to make his first start of the season if James is ruled out, as Orient look to open their League One points account.

Recent signings Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands, who came on as second-half substitutes at Goodison, will be pressing for places in the starting line up.

“I’m delighted that we’ve added Cook’s and Rowlands’ experience to the squad, they just want to play football and when we get them up to speed they’re going to be assets for us,” said Slade.

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“They need pitch time, so the decision was made to ensure they had some in the second half (at Everton),

“I’d have liked to have given ‘Cookie’ a little longer, but obviously we got an injury to Lloyd James immediately after half time.

“I probably wouldn’t have made that otherwise, because I wanted to get ‘Cookie’ on earlier and maybe give Kevin Lisbie a bit of break because he was up there on his own.”

The Orient boss was encouraged by his side’s second-half showing, after they were blitzed by a four-goal first-half blast by the Premier League side.

“I was disappointed with the first half and I think we could have done a little bit better,” he said.

“It’s never nice and it’s never easy when you’re 4-0 down and it felt like that FA Cup replay at the Emirates.

“If you turn the ball over or make a wrong decision against a team like that you’re going to get punished, and that’s exactly what we did, particularly with the first two goals.

“We said at half time that the decisions needed to be better, and that I didn’t think that, other than two or three of them, we were playing to our full potential.

“Some of them were underachieving, but in the second half they showed a little bit more of what they were capable of, and that was important because that’s what you have to take away from the experience - you’ve got to be better, you’re playing against good players and in terms of concentration and the mental side of the game, that’s absolutely massive.

“In the second period we asked a few more questions of them.

“Yes, they made three subs and in the last 15 minutes they were down to 10 men with Phil Neville going off [injured], but I thought we were better because we kept the ball better in the second half, even when they had 11.”