Embleton wonders how different O’s season could have been with McAnuff

Jobi McAnuff celebrates at the final whistle (pic Simon O'Connor)

Jobi McAnuff celebrates at the final whistle (pic Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton wondered how different the season could have been with captain Jobi McAnuff fit and available, following his long-awaited return on Saturday.

The 38-year-old came off the bench in the 67th minute to replace James Dayton in their 2-1 win over Cambridge United for his first appearance of the season.

And the boss did admit he offers something nobody else can, although he didn't want to take anything away from the rest of his squad.

'I think you always do, I don't want to take anything away from everybody else, but no one else in the squad has got what Jobi has got,' Embleton said.

'No one else is 38 years old and played at the level he has, and he has those qualities where even if he is slightly off the pace, or tiring he has got the ability because he is such a good player.

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'He is still in such a good condition, he can think clearly and manage people around him, and I think that's a massive part of any team, having those leaders that can drive you over moments and 'Jobs' contributed to doing that today.'

McAnuff almost found the back of the net as he volleyed an effort on goal with his weaker foot, but more importantly Embleton was keen to reiterate how important he is for the club.

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'Hell of a strike with, if there is such a thing as his weaker foot,' he said.

'I can't express how much of a support and how great he has been for me this season, but ultimately we want to see him out there. He was and I think it's easy to forget what a major influence he was for us last year.

'We kept rolling him out at the back end of last season, in the best way we could, knowing he was injured but he kept going through it and he was a massive part of what we achieved.

'To see him out there today (Saturday), when it was getting tough and difficult, to be able to bring him off the bench from a selfish perspective was fantastic.

'I'd rather him be out there than sat next to me in the nicest possible way and it's now just about trying to build that up so he's stronger and we can see him out there more often.'

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