Slade: Chambers could leave Orient for Walsall
Midfielder could link up with former O’s assistant Dean Smith in the Midlands
With goalkeeper Jamie Jones, defenders Ben Chorley and Elliot Omozusi and midfielder Smith all signing new deals and Scott Cuthbert, Leon McSweeney and Cureton joining in the summer, Slade can feel pleased with his work so far. The only question mark now concerns the future of midfielder Adam Chambers.
The club’s longest-serving player was offered a new deal but, he looked set to link up with former O’s assistant boss Dean Smith at Walsall on a two-year deal.
Chambers has slipped down the pecking order at Brisbane Road and will view a move back to the Midlands as an opportunity to play more first-team football and his proposed move is unlikely to disrupt Slade’s plans.
After missing the play-offs by just one place last season, the O’s boss will be hoping to push on when the new season starts.
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All three new faces were at training last Wednesday at the club’s new Chigwell base.
“Everything is going okay and it’s good to be back. The new training ground is really impressive and a lot of work has gone into it,” said Slade.
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The O’s chief expects everyone to be fit come August 6. “That’s the aim of pre-season, to have everyone fit when the season starts,” he said.
“We have to manage the players carefully and there may be days when individuals don’t train, but that’s just a precaution.
“We were a fit team last year, so we’ve looked at what we did in the last pre-season and we don’t want to deviate too far from that.”It’s been a good week for Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade, as his plans for the new season have started to take shape.
The O’s boss has been desperate to strengthen his strike-force following the end-of-season departures of Scott McGleish and Ryan Jarvis.
Then, a day before his side reported back for pre-season training, he captured experienced hit-man Jamie Cureton from Exeter.
Less than 24 hours later another part of the jigsaw fell neatly into place when Jimmy Smith’s long-running contract saga came to an end.
The Newham-born midfielder ended weeks of speculation when he signed a new two-year deal and, at that point, Slade’s squad for the new season was almost complete.
The O’s boss is still working hard behind the scenes to bring in another striker.
“We’re working on a deal, but we have one or two other options if that doesn’t work,” said Slade on Wednesday.
“Everything seems to be falling into place and if the season kicked off tomorrow we would be competitive.”
The O’s boss also plans to raid the loan market with young Tottenham players likely to figure in his plans once again, although those reinforcements will not arrive until the start of the season.
With the squad virtually complete, the last thing Slade wanted was to lose any key figures and there had been speculation throughout the summer that the hugely impressive Dean Cox could be on his way.
The winger, who set up numerous goals last season with his impressive performances down the left, had been linked with possible moves to Championship newcomers Peterborough and Southampton.
But the tricky winger returned to training and delivered a message Slade was delighted to hear, when he insisted he had no intention of leaving Brisbane Road.
The loss of the player would have been a hammer blow. But Cox, who joined the club a year ago from Brighton, declared: “It’s always nice to hear your name mentioned, as it shows that you must be doing something right.
“But I had a great year last year and am not looking to go anywhere else.
“We came so close to making the play-offs and by keeping the squad together and adding to it a bit, I don’t see why we can’t go one step further this time out.
“My head’s fully focussed on Leyton Orient and I’ve enjoyed getting back into the swing of things.”
The O’s chief was delighted and said: “There’s been speculation about Dean’s future and various Championship clubs were said to be interested, which is no surprise after last season.
“I’m delighted he is staying. In my opinion he is a really good player. He scored 12 goals last season and made 23 assists, I’ll settle for that.”