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Gillingham defender Gabriel Zakuani: Leyton Orient have very good chance of winning promotion next season under Justin Edinburgh

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 May 2018

Gillingham's Gabriel Zakuani (right) and Leyton Orient's Macauley Bonne battle for the ball (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Gillingham's Gabriel Zakuani (right) and Leyton Orient's Macauley Bonne battle for the ball (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The one-time academy graduate at Brisbane Road discussed the O’s prospects of going up in 2019 and Errol McKellar and Martin Ling’s charity day

Gabriel Zakuani believes Leyton Orient are well equipped to challenge for promotion in next season’s National League.

The former O’s defender was back at Brisbane Road on Sunday to support the ‘Big Match, Big Cause’ event put on by Errol McKellar and Martin Ling.

Zakuani didn’t play in the charity match, but did feature against his old club earlier in the 2017/18 campaign when Gillingham hosted Orient in the first round of the FA Cup on November 4.

Gills won 2-1, but were pushed close by O’s in the second half and the member of the 2005/06 League Two promotion-winning squad believes Justin Edinburgh can take his old club back up next season.

“It was tough for them in the beginning and I played against them in the FA Cup, so I know they have a good team, but it was difficult at the start,” said Zakuani.

“Then Justin came in and he really steadied the ship and they were producing play-off form in the end, so hopefully they can kick on in the 2018/19 season.

“I think they can get promotion. If they carry on where they left off they will have a very good chance.”

Although Zakuani couldn’t feature in the match between Ling’s London Legends and McKellar’s Celebrity XI, he enjoyed watching some of his old team-mates get their boots on again like John Mackie and Gary Alexander.

He also praised both men behind the day and hailed the work they have done over the last few years for Prostate Cancer UK and Hertfordshire Mind Network.

Zakuani added: “It is amazing to see so many people turn out for Errol, but it’s not surprising because he is that type of person.

“He is infectious and the work he does for Prostate Cancer UK is unbelievable, so the fact he managed to get everyone together for such a good cause is brilliant.

“Martin has been through a lot as well and when you can get people together for a good cause it is perfect and this is the second year they’ve done it, so the awareness will keep improving and everyone is pulling together for charity.”

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