Paul McCallum backs Leyton Orient forward Sam Dalby to kick on
- Credit: Archant
Andy Edwards discusses 17-year-old striker, who is set to return from injury this weekend
Paul McCallum expects Leyton Orient team-mate Sam Dalby to kick on even more now having impressing during his first two starts for the club last month.
The 17-year-old was thrust into the limelight at home to Crawley Town on Boxing Day after being handed his full debut by Andy Edwards.
Dalby rewarded the faith shown in him by netting the opener after four minutes during the 3-2 win and linked up well with his O’s strike partner.
“To be fair I hadn’t really trained with Sam a lot before his debut. He was with us for a bit and then I think he got injured,” explained McCallum last Thursday.
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“It was a surprise to all of us that he started on Boxing Day, but I was so glad for him that he scored.
“I believe it was his first touch and you saw in the celebrations after that I jumped on him because it’s such a confidence booster to score when you’re young.
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“When I used to get sent out on loan it was always so important to get your first goal and he’s got that now, so hopefully he kicks on.”
Dalby’s impressive debut was cut short due to an ankle problem and the same injury resulted in the teenager coming off against Cambridge United on New Year’s Eve.
But the youngster showed enough during his two starts to suggest a bright future can be expected of the first-year scholar.
An encouraging sign was the link up play between McCallum and Dalby during the games against Crawley and Cambridge at Brisbane Road.
The local talent has missed O’s last three matches with an ankle issue, but is expected to be available for the visit of Morecambe on Saturday.
Edwards admitted he’s pleased to have the academy forward back, although warned against expecting too much from him.
“We are running out of players to get injured. We have got Robbie Weir and Liam Kelly and that is it from the senior group,” said the Orient boss last Thursday.
“Sam is a first-year scholar and we’re asking is he fit, but he’s a very good player and a great prospect.
“It will be good to have him back and I’m sure he’ll get more opportunities to show where he is with his development.
“He made a great impact on his debut and done well in the second game against Cambridge before coming off injured, so it will be good to have him available.”
With Jordan Bowery moving on loan to Crewe Alexandra, Edwards is left with just two senior strikers in McCallum and Ollie Palmer.
It means Dalby will have a crucial role to play between now and the end of the season, but considering his age, expectation levels shouldn’t be too high.