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Coulson happy to see Alabi go to town on O’s opposition

PUBLISHED: 13:30 19 September 2018

Leyton Orient forward James Alabi looks to get away from Salford City defender Liam Hogan (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient forward James Alabi looks to get away from Salford City defender Liam Hogan (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The centre back hailed the current strength in depth at Orient

James Alabi made another good impression off the bench for Leyton Orient on Saturday, but Josh Coulson has revealed the best way to handle him.

The summer signing endured a difficult start to life with the O’s, but has enjoyed a good couple of weeks since suffering a red card at Gateshead on August 25.

Upon returning, Alabi netted a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw away to Halifax Town on September 8 and backed it up with a battling display off the bench on Saturday in the 3-1 win over Barnet.

When discussing the qualities of the former Tranmere Rovers forward, Coulson said: “He can be a handful in training, but that is where my experience comes in. I just stay away from him!

“If you get pinned by James, that’s it – there is not much you can do and Matt Harrold is very similar too.

“We know what a threat he is and if you hang the ball up to Matt, you know he will win it, so the strength in depth is very good.

“We still have a few to come back so it is good and we need the strength in depth because it is a long season.”

Even though Coulson’s role is to stop goals, last weekend he was in the goals as he netted his first of the National League campaign.

It put Orient one up against the Bees, but Wes Fonguck’s superb long-range strike levelled things up at half time.

Justin Edinburgh’s men made a strong start after the break, but it was a double substitution which firmly turned the London derby in their favour.

Dale Gorman and Alabi come on in the 61st minute and seven minutes later James Dayton put O’s back ahead after good play by the powerful forward.

The physicality of Alabi really seemed to unsettle the Barnet back four and allowed more space for the likes of Dayton, Macauley Bonne and Jobi McAnuff.

All that was missing from the substitutes display was a goal for his efforts, but he impressed and could now start this weekend at leaders Harrogate Town.

“James come on and absolutely ruined Barnet. He just needed to get a goal bless him,” Coulson said. “But imagine him coming on when you are tired, I wouldn’t want that!

“The character is brilliant, the boys are so together. It is a great dressing room and we know we can score late goals and other teams know it now, but they just can’t stop it.”

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