McAnuff says it was ‘special moment’ to return to action in O’s win over Cambridge
PUBLISHED: 10:37 08 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:37 08 March 2020
Simon O'Connor Photography
Leyton Orient player/coach Jobi McAnuff says it was a ‘special moment’ to return to action after more than nine months on the sidelines in their 2-1 victory over Cambridge United.
The former Reading captain has failed to make an appearance yet this season due to struggling with a groin injury since the back end of the 2019/20 season and has been part of Ross Embleton's coaching staff this season instead.
But the midfielder returned to the pitch as he came on to replace James Dayton in the 67th minute much to the delight of the O's faithful.
"It was a really special moment. It's been a long journey with times where there were doubts whether I'd get back on the pitch, so from that point of view there's been a lot of hard work and support, not just from my family but from everyone at the football club.
"They've been very patient and I'm just delighted to get back out there and it was a fantastic reception from everybody here."
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McAnuff brought a calming influence to the team after conceding just four minutes before he was introduced and he even had a few chances of his own in the match including a volley and a set-piece.
"I caught it really nicely to be fair, it's one of those where probably it either goes in Row Z or you catch it how to want to catch it. To be fair to the keeper it's fairly straightforward for him as it's right at him but it was a good save.
"I think that would be a bit greedy - left foot volley in the top corner on my debut back in. I'm just really happy to be back on the pitch and get through the minute and hopefully start building them up now."
The captain knows he has work to do to regain a spot in the starting line-up.
"We've got a really strong squad and we've got lads coming back that are going to make us even stronger. For me, that's how it has to be. On a personal level, we need to push each other. If I'm not starting, I'm going to be pushing the lads that are starting because I want to play and it'll be exactly the same when I'm starting, with the lads pushing me.
"It's the only way you get your standards high and keep them high, when you've got that competition throughout the squad and at the end of the day, we've spoken amongst ourselves, everyone is playing for their futures."