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Charlie Lee looking forward to pre-season under Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh after time on the sidelines

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 May 2018

Leyton Orient first-team captain Charlie Lee tackles Gateshead's Richard Peniket (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient first-team captain Charlie Lee tackles Gateshead's Richard Peniket (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The former Stevenage and Gillingham midfielder hailed the efforts of Sam Ling, Marvin Ekpiteta, Dan Happe and Myles Judd in recent games

Leyton Orient full-back Myles Judd looks to stop Wrexham's Jack Mackreth getting forward (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient full-back Myles Judd looks to stop Wrexham's Jack Mackreth getting forward (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient first-team captain Charlie Lee has praised the impact of Justin Edinburgh after finally getting the chance to play for him recently.

The 31-year-old midfielder returned to full fitness earlier this month after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee and managed to start the O’s last game of the National League season at Gateshead.

Lee missed most of the campaign with the serious injury he picked up in August and as a result could only look on from the sidelines as Orient hit a big bump under Steve Davis.

After 11 league games without a win, the ex-Crewe Alexandra boss was sacked on November 14 and replaced by Edinburgh.

When the current O’s head coach took over, Orient were just above the relegation zone and in trouble, but they finished the term strongly to come 13th with optimism rife now ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Lee said: “The gaffer has done really well. It’s hard to put your finger on what was going wrong or what was happening, but you get in a rut.

“I suppose it must be tough for a manager to come into that sort of environment, but he’s done everything he could and I don’t think no one could take away what we’ve done since he’s come in.

“We’ve lost games, but I think we’ve lost them in the right way because we’ve worked hard and still played well.”

He continued: “It will be nice to have a good pre-season working with the gaffer. We didn’t really have a full pre-season last summer, so I’m looking forward to pre-season believe it or not.”

Lee was one of the main positives to come from the final month of the season with the play-offs virtually out of reach once O’s lost 1-0 away to Dover Athletic on March 3.

The other pleasing aspect of the last two weeks was the displays of Orient’s young back four – Sam Ling, Marvin Ekpiteta, Dan Happe and Myles Judd.

All four started O’s final three matches and impressed in the 1-0 victory at home to Wrexham (April 21) and the 3-1 win at Gateshead on Saturday.

Despite the inexperience of the defenders, with Ekpiteta the oldest at 22, Lee was always confident they would take their chance.

He added: “There has been no doubts in our heads (as a club) that those four players at the back are good enough.

“Marvin has just been exceptional from day one since he joined the club and his mentality to learn is as good as I’ve ever seen.

“We’ve had no doubts that he is ready to play and he’s been exceptional while ‘Juddy’ has been out injured, but come back in at left-back and been immense.

“Then ‘Lingy’ has been arguably the best right-back in the league this year so to get him was brilliant and we can’t say any more about Happe than we already have, so as a four they will get a lot of credit and they deserve it.”

Additional reporting by Jacob Ranson.

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