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Leyton Orient secure Josh Coulson on permanent deal after Cambridge United terminate his contract early

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:24 08 January 2018

Leyton Orient defender Josh Coulson celebrates with David Mooney after scoring for the O's (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient defender Josh Coulson celebrates with David Mooney after scoring for the O's (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The popular centre back has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with the O's - bringing his 10-year stay at the Abbey Stadium to an end

Leyton Orient have announced the permanent signing of Josh Coulson on a free transfer after Cambridge United agreed to terminate his contract six months early.

The news is a massive boost for the O’s and comes less than 48 hours after boss Justin Edinburgh appeared to suggest the deal was dragging on a little.

Orient’s head coach didn’t need to worry, however, as the U’s have ended Coulson’s contract early – allowing the defender to sign a two-and-a-half year deal with the National League club at Brisbane Road.

It is a huge coup for the east Londoners with the centre back showing his leadership skills and class whenever he has been fit this season after joining on a six-month loan deal in July.

Coulson starred in the opening month of the campaign and helped Orient up to second by September 2, but a groin injury at Boreham Wood a week later saw him miss a handful of games.

The 28-year-old returned to help O’s draw 2-2 at Aldershot Town in the same month, but injured his groin again and didn’t return until December 16 at Haringey Borough.

Once Coulson overcame his injury, Orient’s defence, which had conceded regularly in his absence, went back to its old solid self and it is no surprise they have let in just two goals in the six games he has played since returning to full fitness.

The O’s have kept four clean sheets during that period as well and the popular centre back will no doubt have a huge part to play at Brisbane Road between now and the end of the season.

While Coulson will be pleased to have sorted out his long-term future with his deal at Cambridge expiring in the summer, he will no doubt be sad to bring his time at the Abbey Stadium to an end.

He signed for the U’s in 2007 from Cambridge City and made his debut as a substitute in a 2-2 draw with Halifax Town on October 6 of that year.

Coulson went on to become a household name at the Abbey Stadium and played over 260 times for the club during the next 10 years.

The defender was an integral part of the Cambridge team which won promotion back to League Two via the play-offs and the FA Trophy in the same 2013/14 season.

He also scored the U’s first goal back in the Football League the following campaign, but struggled with injuries during the 2016/17 term with his last competitive outing for his old side occurring on November 19 2016 (2-1 loss to Wycombe Wanders).

Coulson’s service to Cambridge was rewarded last summer, however, with a testimonial match against Tottenham Hotspur under-23s and he will now look to write another successful chapter in his story at Orient where he has already made 16 appearances for his new club.

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