Ollie boosts hopes of Sixfields starting role
- Credit: Archant
Former Mansfield forward talks about learning from an old team mate and helping Orient get back to winning ways on Saturday
Ollie Palmer hasn’t had too many chances to impress this season after joining Leyton Orient in the summer from Mansfield, but after biding his time he demonstrated what he is all about against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
The 23-year-old was introduced at half time against the Chairboys with Ian Hendon’s side trailing 1-0 at Brisbane Road. During the first period against Gareth Ainsworth’s Wanderers, the O’s had not been at their best.
Enter Palmer and 45 minutes later, they still had their unbeaten home record and the big forward had made a huge impression.
He didn’t actually score or assist Jay Simpson’s superb equalising goal, but he played a key part and was so robust and strong against the Wycombe defenders throughout the second period.
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Palmer was thrilled to win the man of the match award, but did concede that Orient need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible having not achieved a victory since August 29.
“At the end of the day we want to win games at Brisbane Road,” said Palmer. “This is our home and we want to pick up as many victories as possible here.
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“We played against a very strong side, who were resilient, so I am pleased with the way we played, but we have got to get back to winning ways next weekend away to Northampton Town.”
Palmer did his chances of a start at Sixfields no harm with his impressive display against the Chairboys and it would be his full league debut for the O’s.
The former Mansfield forward has been introduced off the bench in every league fixture so far this season and scored in the 3-0 win against Stevenage.
He has started in the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but relished being up front alongside Simpson on Saturday.
Palmer’s presence unsettles defenders and his determination and work rate forced mistakes to creep into the Wycombe back four and that ensured Simpson could score.
He admits that hasn’t always been a part of his game, but a former team-mate at Mansfield helped develop it and now it is a key strength of his.
Palmer joked: “Does it look like I enjoy battling with the centre backs? I have added that to my game over the last couple of years.
“People have drilled it into me and I played with a lad called Matt Rhead at Mansfield. He is a unit and taught me a few things.
“It can be quite an impact when you are winning your flick-ons, holding up the ball and setting it off for your team-mates.
“You can be creating chances that way and working hard and getting in behind defenders plus getting shots off early helps too, but as long as I’m playing I don’t care what defender I play against.”
The Orient forward will hope to get a start at Northampton, but if not you would expect him to definitely be in from the off when Carlisle United visit Brisbane Road next Tuesday.
Palmer looked a handful alongside Simpson and will presumably not play against many defences better than Wycombe’s either. They have conceded only five times in the league this season.
“Ollie’s been knocking on the door since day one,” said Hendon after Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
And it seems this weekend he will get his chance to shine, let’s hope he takes advantage of it.