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Leyton Orient midfielder Lee enjoyed the challenge to get back from long-term injury

PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 April 2018

Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh speaks with first-team captain Charlie Lee ahead of his first outing since August 19 (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh speaks with first-team captain Charlie Lee ahead of his first outing since August 19 (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Leyton Orient midfielder Charlie Lee revealed he enjoyed the challenge of battling back to full fitness after enduring a torrid season due to injury.

Leyton Orient first-team captain Charlie Lee issues instructions on his comeback against Wrexham (pic: Simon O'Connor). Leyton Orient first-team captain Charlie Lee issues instructions on his comeback against Wrexham (pic: Simon O'Connor).

The 31-year-old returned to action replacing James Brophy in the 90th minute of the O’s 1-0 victory against Wrexham at Brisbane Road this weekend.

The former Stevenage man had been ruled out due to anterior cruciate ligament damage and not been involved in the first team since August.

“It’s difficult but I get reminded very regularly by my wife that I still get paid to be a footballer, obviously I don’t get to play, but I get to go in and work hard and enjoy it,” said Lee.

“The atmosphere around the ground, especially in recent weeks, has been exceptional and I couldn’t wait to get back.

“I’ve almost enjoyed the challenge. I’ve never had a real injury in my life, so I’ve enjoyed it and I’m proud of myself.”

Lee admitted he has been working ever so hard to return before the end of the campaign and knows he will most likely just feature from the bench in the final week of the season.

“There is no injury in there, I’ve been given the go-ahead to play and I’ve been working with the fitness coach and the physio for many a weeks,” he added.

“Ideally you’d have liked to play reserves game first, but this just isn’t the time. I’m probably not going to be used as a starter before the end of the season, I think that is quite obvious, it will just be building for next year.”

Orient’s first-team captain is now hoping to get a few more minutes and get himself prepared for next season’s National League campaign.

“I haven’t been very useful since I got injured and unfortunately not been available, but hopefully I can bring something in the last few games if I’m involved, if not I’ll be ready for next season.”

Lee also revealed it was tough watching from the sidelines during Orient’s struggles earlier in the campaign.

“It was obviously tough, it was well documented that we weren’t getting many results, but we stayed positive,” he said.

“I have to say a big well done to the gaffer. He’s come in, he’s very positive, he’s got us working hard and there has been a clear change in the way the players have been performing and getting results at home lately has helped.”

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