Slade closing in on targets
O’s boss set for talks with new recruits
With his first summer signing in the bag, Orient boss Russell Slade is hoping to strengthen his squad further in the next few days.
Slade has signed Bristol Rovers left-back Gary Sawyer on a two-year deal and has three more main targets – but admits it’s a case of juggling resources with the new wage capping system coming in.
Although the O’s boss is keeping potential targets under wraps, it seems the priority is now a striker and a midfield player.
“I have lost two centre-forwards with Jamie Cureton and Jonathan Tehoue going, so I need a target man,” said the Orient chief.
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“I also need a replacement for Stephen Dawson and a left-back, which I have now got. But that does affect what I will be able to spend elsewhere.”
One midfielder who has been linked with a move to Orient is Port Vale’s Anthony Griffith.
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Word from the Potteries are that several clubs are interested in the 25-year-old midfielder, including the O’s.
Slade is keen to continue reshaping the side as quickly as possible and admitted: “I hope to be talking to two or three players within the next four or five days. But it’s a bit like spinning plates at the moment.”
Given the new financial restrictions, Slade confirmed that all last season’s loan players have returned to their clubs.
While Cureton and Tehoue, who ended the season out on loan have been released – along with Mike Cestor, Jamie Smith and goalkeeper Tom Lovelock.
Meanwhile, defender Syam Ben Youssef, who had been with the O’s on a short-term deal, has returned to Turkey.
Ben Youssef impressed the Orient boss and he could make a return depending on the restrictions of the budget.
“I thought he did well and it’s possible,” said Slade.
However, a move to sign Dean Leacock, who played 15 games at Brisbane Road on a short-term contract following his release from Derby, looks unlikely.
Slade was pleased with Leacock, but given the budget he admitted a permanent move is ‘unrealistic at this stage’.
The O’s boss has also spoken to out-of-contract duo Matthew Spring and Terrell Forbes, but again much depends on finances.
However, Moses Odubajo, who scored on his full debut against Rochdale, has been offered a new deal and 18-year-old Billy Lobjoit has signed a one-year contract – his first pro deal with the club.
But the future of George Porter is less clear after he stalled over a contract in January.