Payne is the perfect fit in Orient midfield
- Credit: Archant
Peterborough ace discusses life in east London and how he feels close to full fitness
Jack Payne believes he is slowly starting to show Leyton Orient supporters his best football after scoring the winner at Morecambe on Saturday to earn a first away win in League Two since August.
The 23-year-old’s goal at Globe Arena was a lucky one, which he admitted himself, as he blocked Ryan Edwards clearance and it flew into the home goal.
But the former Gillingham man impressed throughout at the weekend and has become more influential over the past few weeks.
His introduction against Oxford United on October 17 changed the game and he has probably been one of Orient’s most consistent performers since signing.
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Payne is at Brisbane Road on a season-long loan from Peterborough and the way he is playing, Ian Hendon and co would love to make that permanent.
It seems the midfielder is enjoying himself in east London as well, he said: “I think I have had a couple of games where I have thought ‘yes I was good’ like when I came on against Oxford.
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“I think that is where I need to get to for each game, but I feel like things are going okay to be honest.
“I have still got a bit more to come like some more assists, but I am getting there. I didn’t really do a pre-season this year so I feel like I am fully fit now and can get about more in midfield.”
Payne’s addition towards the end of August added to the options available to Hendon in the middle.
Orient began the campaign with Lloyd James, Sammy Moore and Bradley Pritchard in midfield, but Payne has worked his way into the starting team and only failed to be selected against Oxford.
As mentioned, he was dropped for the game against the Yellows, but reacted brilliantly.
He explained that the quality in the team is so strong that if you do get put on the substitutes bench, you have to accept it.
Payne added: “We have got a quality squad here, we have a small one, but the quality we have got is really good.
“We have a good squad so I know if I am being left out that it is for the right reasons, but when I do get my chance I will take it.”
The number of strong options available to Hendon in central midfield is probably one of the main reasons why he has favoured the diamond formation this year.
Orient have normally lined up with Payne the deepest of the four with Moore and Pritchard further up and generally Dean Cox at the point, just behind the forwards.
In recent weeks John Marquis has taken Cox’s place, but the formation has received mixed responses from fans.
A lot have called for the 4-4-2 to be used more with two traditional wingers, but Payne believes the diamond suits him better and it does appear to allow the O’s to control games more.
“I fit into any system,” admitted Payne. “But the diamond suits me well because I can sit at the base and I am quite defensive so I can do the work with the centre halves and get on the ball.
“We’ll play anything this year. I think we are good enough and have enough quality and togetherness in the group to get results anywhere in this league.”
While Payne has been very consistent lately, Cox’s form has dropped in recent weeks.
Although he maybe hasn’t warranted a start lately, he is a fantastic option to come off the bench and it would be a huge surprise if he isn’t included in the squad on Saturday when Accrington Stanley visit.