Nicky looks to help Orient stay in the hunt
PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 March 2016
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Former Bolton Wanderers defender reveals what the future could hold for him when he hangs up his boots
Nicky Hunt is happy to fill the void at the heart of Leyton Orient’s defence if called upon again as they look to remain in the chasing pack for promotion this season.
The former Bolton Wanderers ace has represented his new club at right-back mainly, but had to move inside during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Luton Town in League Two.
Shaun Brisley went off with a bad head injury and looks set to miss this weekend’s visit to second-placed Oxford United.
Hunt did a decent job alongside O’s captain Mathieu Baudry at Brisbane Road and may line up there again against the Yellows.
“It is part and parcel of football, I played centre-back as a youngster from 16 to 18 so it isn’t totally new to me,” said the 32-year-old.
“Anywhere along the back line I’m comfortable when called upon, obviously right-back is my ideal spot.
“If we get in the play-offs, I don’t care where the gaffer plays me, as long as we’re there come the end of the season.”
Hunt and O’s player-manager Kevin Nolan were team mates at Bolton Wanderers before going their separate ways.
But they have been reunited in east London this season and both are desperate to earn promotion to League One this year.
Former Mansfield Town captain Hunt believes Nolan has a lot more to offer on the pitch.
He has been balancing a difficult job of playing and managing over the last seven weeks, but put in his best performance in an Orient shirt against Crawley Town at the end of last month.
Unfortunately Nolan couldn’t help his team take anything from Saturday’s match, but Hunt backed him to keep improving.
He added: “I massively think there is more to come from him. All the boys have the upmost respect for him and he can only bring out the best in whatever team he picks.
“So far he has been swapping and changing over the past few weeks and maybe we’ll get down to a solid starting XI that he feels can go on and make the play-offs.”
There is still a little way to go, but Orient do need to find more consistency if they are to finish in the top seven this year.
Nolan’s appointment has seen them improve massively at the back and results have picked up as well, but they are still just outside the play-off positions.
It was expected that the former West Ham United captain would bring in another coaching member when he took over in January.
But thus far nobody has been appointed and instead the Orient boss has given academy director Andy Edwards a bigger role with the first team.
Hunt was asked on Saturday what the future holds for him when he decides to hang up his boots – despite appearing to have a long time left in him yet!
And the experienced defender added: “I’m doing my UEFA B badges so hopefully with Kevin’s guidance I can carry on with that.
“I think I’ve got a few years left of me playing yet, but ultimately I do want to get into coaching and it would be a great stepping stone if I could do it here.”
While he has proved to be a solid acquisition for O’s since signing from league rivals Mansfield, in the long run it appears the defender could eventually become part of Nolan’s coaching team.
But the short-team goal is promotion and the priority for Hunt may be slotting in at centre-back again this weekend.