Danny Webb hints Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark could be set for full debut at Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 February 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Teenage centre back produced assured performance off the bench against Cheltenham Town and may be handed another chance tomorrow
Leyton Orient manager Danny Webb heaped praise on Michael Clark after making his first appearance for the club against Cheltenham Town and revealed he could make his full debut tomorrow at Stevenage.
The third-year scholar replaced Tom Parkes at half time on Saturday and produced a fine performance at the back.
Clark looked assured from the off and won a number of headers before showing off his impressive range of passing.
Webb said: “I think there is every chance ‘Clarky’ could keep his place at Stevenage and I think we can expect to see Nicky (Hunt) back in the team somewhere.
“Rowan Liburd is unavailable, so we are going to have to assess Paul McCallum’s injury and see how we are and go from there.”
Parkes was forced off at the break on Saturday after bravely playing despite suffering with heavy bruising to his hip.
Meanwhile fellow central defender Teddy Mezague struggled throughout against the Robins and could be dropped.
After Clark’s impressive debut, he may now partner Nicky Hunt in the centre of O’s back four tomorrow.
The youngster, who captained Orient’s youth-team last season, has played over 30 times for East Thurrock United on loan this campaign.
Clark has often received praise for his performances and grabbed his opportunity on Saturday with both hands.
Orient’s manager was delighted with the teenager’s display and it appears he has been catching the eye for a while.
“Michael was different class when he came on and that is a lad who is still only a scholar,” said Webb.
“He hasn’t even got a professional contract, so you look at a lot of those players and they are not letting anybody down, especially not themselves.
“It is easy sometimes when you have these results that you forget to mention the players that did well and they go home thinking they didn’t do as well as they did.
“People like ‘Clarky’ and Myles Judd, who has been outstanding for a while, are being asked to do a man’s job and they are doing it.”
The performance of Clark was the major highlight from the weekend with Orient losing their 14th home game of the season.
Webb’s team created a number of chances, especially in the first half, but failed to take them and were punished.
After the break, O’s struggled and Callum Kennedy’s penalty miss summed up their efforts in the second half.
Come full time it felt like a pivotal defeat with Cheltenham moving six points clear of Orient in the table.
But Webb admitted it is hard to place too much importance on one match considering what has gone on before him.
In fairness to the 33-year-old, he is O’s fourth manager of the campaign and if they get relegated, the lion’s share of the blame shouldn’t really be placed at his door.
“I’ve got to be careful I don’t heap too much on myself. I’m not one for shifting the blame or making excuses, but I can’t be too brave and take on the responsibility of people before me,” said Webb.
“I know what I signed up for. I’m the man with my neck on the line and I need to take the criticism that comes my way as manager.
“But I’m not going to suddenly say this defeat is a pivotal game in terms of us getting relegated or not.
“When I took the job I hoped the damage hadn’t been done and I’m doing my best to put a bit of hope into the place, which we’ve done, but on Saturday, due to the result, everyone is feeling down.”