Paul McCallum ready to fight for Leyton Orient's Football League status
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 January 2017
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Former West Ham United striker discusses the prospect of relegation, repaying Andy Edwards faith and Robbie Weir's ACL injury
Leyton Orient forward Paul McCallum knows the battle to avoid relegation is going to be tough, but insists the squad must believe in themselves if they are to get the results they need to stay up this season.
The O’s sit 21st in the League Two table and four points above the bottom two after suffering back-to-back defeats in 2017.
Andy Edwards acknowledged on Saturday that Orient are in a battle to survive, but the former West Ham United striker remains confident they’ll stay up.
McCallum said: “To be honest in League Two I think you are in a relegation fight if you are not in the top 10.
“It is so tight and we all know it is not going to be easy and we are in a really, really tough battle now, so we have just got to believe in ourselves and get the results.”
The ex-Dulwich Hamlet forward is also aware it doesn’t take many defeats for an O’s manager to be under pressure.
And McCallum is determined to repay the faith Edwards has shown in him since officially taking charge on November 22.
Orient’s number 10 has started the last five games and scored three times having been in and out of the team earlier in the campaign.
“It’s been frustrating losing a lot of managers, but everyone is on the same page with Andy and behind him. We’re confident we can start getting results and winning games for him,” said McCallum.
“Obviously it’s always good to have someone that will play you even if you have a couple of bad games in a row.
“At the beginning of the season I wasn’t really starting or as involved as much as I’d like, but now I am and it’s important I score and try to keep my place in the team.”
Somebody O’s will be without for the rest of the campaign is captain Robbie Weir after he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage at Exeter City.
It will be a long road back for the former Burton Albion midfielder and that is something McCallum knows only too well.
The striker suffered an ACL injury at Northampton Town on September 26 2015 and missed most of last season because of it.
McCallum added: “If see somebody go down in training I think please don’t let it be that knee. I know it is worse when you don’t get tackled and you are in some pain. That is normally a telltale sign that it is something serious.
“With Robbie, I didn’t really know at the time if it was his knee or his hamstring, but when we went into the changing room I saw he had a knee brace on and he was walking around like I was (at Northampton).
“He came over to me and I said it could be that, and it is gutting for him because he’s our captain. It’s unfortunate that he’s done his knee, but I know he’ll come back stronger next year.”
After going through the same rehab last season, McCallum praised the work Weir is putting in right now before his operation.
“It’s a long process until you can start running again and it is all about how much work you put in before the op,” said the ex-Portsmouth loanee.
“And I see Robbie in the gym now and in the physio room doing the work and that’s all important to make the knee as strong as possible before the op.”
While Orient are currently without Weir, in McCallum they have somebody capable of scoring the goals to keep them up.
The striker has attracted criticism on a number of occasions, yet is comfortably the O’s leading scorer this season having found the net 10 times.
If the east Londoners are to be a League Two club at the end of the season, you can bet McCallum’s goals will have played a huge part.