Hendon full of praise for in-form forward Simpson
- Credit: Archant
Brisbane Road boss reflects on Cambridge point, Jay Simpson, options from the bench and Harry Lee
Jay Simpson continued his fine goalscoring form to keep Leyton Orient at the top of League Two on Saturday and head coach Ian Hendon praised the class of the former Arsenal forward following the 1-1 draw with Cambridge United.
The O’s fell behind early on in the second period when half time substitute Jacob Blyth converted past away custodian Alex Cisak from close range.
But Simpson collected captain Mathieu Baudry’s pass in the 73rd minute and fired past U’s goalkeeper Chris Dunn to level the scores at the Abbey Stadium.
That was how it would finish, despite late pressure from the visitors, and it was enough to keep Orient at the summit - a point ahead of Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth.
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It also continued the 26-year-old’s excellent start to the season, which has seen him score five times in seven league starts.
Hendon said: “Jay is very comfortable on the ball and intelligent with his runs and we have got a lot of intelligent footballers in the team who can find him when he makes those runs so it is a good balance at the moment.
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“Paul McCallum alongside him takes the hits and helps him out up top and Jay floats around and gets in those gaps where he is dangerous. He could have had a hat-trick on Saturday.
“Jay is a good finisher and he showed that against Cambridge. He does bring a bit of class at this level, but they’re a few lads in this team that do that.”
Orient ended the contest strongly, but only made two substitutions on Saturday with Blair Turgott and Ollie Palmer coming on as the visitors pushed for a late winner.
Hendon resisted the temptation to bring talisman Dean Cox on from the bench, instead looking to preserve his fitness after he failed to train during the week.
The O’s boss admitted he was happy with the options available to him at the Abbey Stadium and also discussed Harry Lee, who has been on-loan at Welling United over the past month.
Lee has impressed with the National League outfit, playing seven matches so far for the Kent side and regaining his fitness after struggling with a knee problem during pre-season.
“I have said it before that if you have a lot of players you have a lot of players to keep happy,” added Hendon.
“We have sadly got a few young lads that are not getting the experience that maybe they need. We have Harry Lee out at Welling at the moment and he is playing every week and doing well.
“That is a good education for him. Maybe there are one or two more that can go out on loan, but the issue with that is because we have such a small squad we don’t really want to lose too many of those youngster because they might be needed.
“I thought we had a good bench at Cambridge when I looked around and saw what was on my bench. I was quite happy with it and as I have said before, if we need to delve into it we can go down the loan route. I am happy with performances at the moment and I don’t see the need to bring anybody in.”