Embleton challenges Orient to remain focused after building gap over Salford
PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 December 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
The O’s assistant hailed the performance of Charlie Lee after he made his first start since November 3
Ross Embleton called on Leyton Orient to remain focused after opening up a slight gap between themselves and the chasing pack in the National League.
The O’s hard-fought win over Chesterfield this afternoon saw them go four points clear at the summit.
Meanwhile, Salford City lost at home to Dagenham & Redbridge while Wrexham failed to break down Aldershot Town and Justin Edinburgh’s team now have a cushion heading into the busy Christmas period.
Embleton said: “It is nice at any stage of the season to have a gap between your rivals and I think there are a lot of teams who will hope to fill the gap, but it is nice to look at the table and see breathing space.
“The most important thing off the back of that is we don’t take it for granted. We have to make sure we continue to strive to make it bigger and make it more comfortable.”
Orient had to work hard to get the better of Martin Allen’s Chesterfield, but goals by Josh Koroma, Marvin Ekpiteta and Macauley Bonne earned them a 3-1 win.
“It was a tough game and if you look at the league table it would have been very straightforward to expect us to turn up and roll them over, but we knew it would be a challenge,” Embleton said.
“They beat Salford in their most recent league game, so we knew it would be really difficult and I thought we overcame that and then at times stamped our authority on how we wanted to play.”
While Koroma, Ekpiteta and Bonne will take some of the plaudits, Charlie Lee was arguably man of the match with a terrific display in the middle of the park.
The midfielder made his first start since November 3, when he suffered a knee injury in the early exchanges of the 3-1 win at AFC Fylde, and made a huge impression.
He helped out Josh Coulson and Ekpiteta when it came to dealing with the Spireites tall forward Tom Denton and also caused Chesterfield problems with his long throws and accurate balls forward.
Considering it was Lee’s first outing in seven weeks, the 79 minutes he got through in E10 were of the highest quality.
Embleton added: “I think Charlie Lee, another one coming back from injury, deserves a big pat on the back.
“He is probably not 100 per cent fully fit right now, but we knew him coming in would be a real asset for us going up against Denton in the air and then also putting them on the back foot with his throws.”
This week there has been a lot of talk about whether Orient will make a signing with Salford City and Wrexham both strengthening their squad.
In the end, O’s didn’t make an addition before today, like director of football Martin Ling hinted at in last weekend’s programme, but Embleton believes it will not be too long before a new player links up with Edinburgh’s squad.
He added: “We have done a lot of work this week on a number of players in different positions who we feel will improve and strengthen us.
“Obviously we’ve lost James Dayton and that is an area where we feel we will probably have to improve the squad.
“There are other areas where we might need to add to help us improve to make us stronger which will help us go toe-to-toe with what the rest will do.
“We have had strong discussions about what we do and how we do it and they have to fit in with the way we want to play and they have to fit in with the characters we have.
“A lot has been made about the squad this season and the real strength of character and the togetherness we have and although all of us want to see a new face come in to freshen things up, we don’t want to bring in the wrong character. It all has to come together.”
Orient are coping just fine anyway and the O’s supporters will all enjoy looking at the league table this Christmas, especially given they were 20th at this stage last season.