Slade and Clarke convince new Orient signing to join

Robbie Simpson misses a late chance against Stevenage on his debut. Pic by Simon O'Connor

Robbie Simpson misses a late chance against Stevenage on his debut. Pic by Simon O'Connor - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

New Leyton Orient signing Robbie Simpson was convinced to join the club by manager Russell Slade and captain and good friend Nathan Clarke.

He made his debut as a substitute in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Stevenage on Tuesday after signing a two-month contract the day before.

The 28-year-old forward has not played a competitive game since his release by Oldham in the summer and is raring to get back into league action.

“I had wanted to join a Championship club and turned down League One offers,” Simpson said.

“But Nathan, one of my best mates generally not just in football, sold the ambition of the club to me.

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“The main thing was the manager. We’ve spoke several times and he’s a great boss and a fantastic bloke. He’s very hard-working and has huge knowledge of the game.”

Slade will hope Simpson bolsters the O’s squad which lacks strength in depth.

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David Mooney and Kevin Lisbie have scored 25 goals between them but Shaun Batt is the only other senior forward.

Simpson, who will wear the number 25 shirt during his time at Brisbane Road, thinks the manager sees his versatility as an asset – and he hopes to stay at Orient beyond January.

Until then the Manchester-based player will stay with his parents in Knebworth in Hertfordshire as he looks to get up to speed with his team-mates fitness.

He said: “I can play all across the midfield and up front, and I think Russell sees that as an asset.

“I want to play in the Championship, and I would love to do it with Orient. My fitness is quite good and I’m working hard to be involved against Preston (tomorrow).”

Slade added about his new signing: “Robbie could prove to be a really handy signing for us.

“We know we have a small squad so need players that are versatile and he can play up front or in midfield plus he’s a great character to join the group too.”

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