Harrison enjoying life at Brisbane Road
PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 April 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Goalkeeper coach talks Kevin Nolan, his role with the first team and the challenge facing O’s
Lee Harrison is thoroughly enjoying his role with Leyton Orient and the different challenges it brings.
The 44-year-old returned to Brisbane Road in the summer as goalkeeper coach under previous head coach Ian Hendon.
After playing for the O’s for two years, he was more than happy to come back to east London and help their promotion push.
Unfortunately Hendon left in January and was replaced by former West Ham United captain Kevin Nolan, but Harrison is relishing working with a player he knew well because of his time at Upton Park as a coach.
He said: “I have known Ian for a long time and obviously it is always disappointing when somebody leaves, but I knew Kevin already and had a great relationship with him.
“I think he has done really well so far and maybe better than people would have predicted. We’ve got to take the bull by the horns now and make sure we get into those play-offs.”
After Nolan’s appointment, many expected him to bring in Wally Downes as defensive coach.
Harrison was given a bigger role with the back four, though, and it appears to have been a wise move.
Orient have kept seven clean sheets in Nolan’s 14 games so far and conceded just 14 goals.
“It is funny really because my role now is similar to the one I did at Wycombe Wanderers, we only had three people there,” added Harrison.
“With ‘Nuge’ leaving at the same time, Kevin knew my role doing set pieces and the defensive side of the game with the goalkeepers.
“He decided to bring me into doing that with the defenders as well and it is nice that we aren’t conceded too many goals.
“It always seems the way that when you stop one problem, another develops. We aren’t getting too many at the other end now so we’ve got to get that right and I’m sure we will.”
Harrison doesn’t just have a bigger role on the training ground, he is involved with substitutions on a match day as well.
The O’s goalkeeper coach makes those decisions alongside Nolan, assistant Andy Hessenthaler and Andy Edwards.
And he discussed how the Orient boss is juggling playing and management, adding: “I saw Kevin a lot as a player for two years at West Ham so know what he is like as a leader, but it is slightly different role for him now.
“He will go out for training and let us get on with things and during matches he comes over to ask our opinions. At half time he will have a quiet word with us about how we’re doing, but he does let us get on with it.
“It is tough for him at the moment because we are obviously trying to get promoted while he’s trying to find a niche for himself as well.
“To be honest the job might have come a bit earlier than expected, but he is coping well and will only get better, I’ve no doubt about that.”