Embleton explains decision to take Alabi off O’s transfer list
PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 22 July 2019
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The interim head coach praised the attitude of the forward and revealed some details of their ‘honest’ conversation
Ross Embleton believes Leyton Orient striker James Alabi deserved to be taken off the club's transfer list and admitted the 2018 summer signing knows where he has to improve in the 2019/20 campaign.
The forward struggled to find the net during his first season at Brisbane Road, but still helped the O's win the National League title.
A dramatic late equaliser at Halifax Town helped Orient remain unbeaten during the early part of the term, but he was unable to show his worth when handed starting roles in the National League or FA Trophy.
It led to Alabi missing out on the matchday squad on a number of occasions, but to his credit he remained a popular member of the group and enjoyed a good relationship with late boss Justin Edinburgh.
After initially being made available for transfer in May, the Londoner is now firmly part of the squad and in the plans of the interim head coach.
"There are a number of reasons why James was taken off the transfer list," Embleton told this title.
"One of them was the fact we had a very honest and frank conversation when he returned because of the situation he found himself in.
"Something he did express to me after the summer he has had and with have had is he felt he owed it to himself and owed it to the gaffer to come back and impose himself on the group.
"We spoke to him at the end of last season about what was important and where we felt he potentially never hit the levels he wanted to and I think his attitude and the way he has gone about pre-season deserves huge credit.
"On top of that, although we said we would continue to give him chances to impress, I didn't want him coming in every morning with an elephant in the room. I wanted him to have the opportunity to take off the shackles of being on the transfer list.
"He deserves it, he has shown he is up for the fight and we are pleased to have him in and around the group because he is a fantastic character."
Alabi featured for Orient away to Dartford on Saturday, playing the final 26 minutes at Princes Park.
It was one of only two substitutes made by Embleton at the weekend, but previously he had been making 11 changes on the hour mark - something he did in the 1-0 wins at Hornchurch and AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Wednesday and Thursday.
During those matches, all 22 available players managed to play 90 minutes across the games on back-to-back days.
Explaining why, the interim head coach adding: "The important thing with the 60 and 30 is obviously to get minutes into their legs.
"But at the same time the stopping and starting process is the first time they have done that this summer because when you come in for half-time, you do have to get going again and that is sometimes underestimated.
"I wanted to give the players the opportunity to do that for the first time and it was really important."
Orient travel to Bishop's Stortford on Tuesday, and goalkeeper Dean Brill is expected to be part of the squad alongside Craig Clay, Dale Gorman and Jordan Maguire-Drew.
Additional reporting by Jacob Ranson.