Slade: It was a difficult decision to release McGleish

But Jones looks set to sign

Orient manager Russell Slade admitted it was a difficult decision to release top-scorer Scott McGleish.

The 37-year-old striker netted 18 goals, the last one being at Plymouth on Saturday, but he was one of four out-of-contract players who were not retained by the club.

The O’s boss also told fellow striker Ryan Jarvis, defender Aaron Brown and youngster Harry Beautyman that their deals would not be renewed.

McGleish has had four spells at Orient and Slade said: “It was a difficult decision, because he has had a terrific season.

“It’s always hard to tell players they are not being retained and it was not easy telling any of them.

“But I want to continue to develop the squad,” said Slade, who has a year left on his contract at Orient, but has been linked with the managerial job at Sheffield United following the departure of Micky Adams.

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With 10 senior squad members out of contract, Slade was forced to release some of the established players to make room for new arrivals.

Also leaving are the on-loan Tottenham trio – Paul-Jose M’Poku, Harry Kane and Tommy Carroll – who return to White Hart Lane, while Adam Barrett goes back to Crystal Palace.

A new striker looks likely to top the shopping list and Slade said: “I want to bring in three or four what I would consider key players and a couple of loan signings as well.”

Two of the other out-of-contract players, defender Ben Chorley and goalkeeper Lee Butcher, have already signed new two-year deals, which will keep them at Brisbane Road until 2013 and Jamie Jones looks set to follow in their footsteps.

“It’s good to get Ben Chorley and Lee Butcher tied down and Jamie Jones has accepted an offer in principle,” added Slade.

Also staying are Elliot Omozusi and the club’s longest-serving player Adam Chambers, who have triggered clauses in their contracts for an additional year after playing a requisite number of games during the season.

Midfielder Jimmy Smith and defender Andrew Whing have also been offered new deals and are currently in negotiations.

Jason Crowe’s future is unclear, although he is currently in talks with the club, while young striker Jake Argent has been offered a six-month deal.

Slade is hopeful that he will be able to conclude a couple of the signings in the not too distant future.

“I have been talking to a couple of players already and hope to have something sorted out sooner rather than later,” said the O’s boss.