Orient thinking 'long-term' with decision to rest Lee
PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 October 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
The experienced midfielder wasn't part of the matchday squad on Saturday and boss Justin Edinburgh explained why post-match
Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh is hopeful his decision to rest Charlie Lee for last Saturday’s National League match with Hartlepool United will benefit the O’s and the midfielder in the long run.
After starting 13 games in a row, the 31-year-old didn’t even make the bench for the visit of the Monkey Hangers at the weekend.
Back in August 2017, Lee suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage and although he has recovered impressively, Edinburgh admitted it was in the back of his mind when he decided to take the ex-Stevenage midfielder out of the starting XI on Saturday.
The O’s boss said: “He was rested. It was a decision which I felt needed to be made. It was a tough call and one Charlie didn’t like.
“I respect him for that, but to recover from the injury he had and to play as many games at this level as he has since returning to full fitness, I felt we needed to rest him to make sure in the long-term we keep him in form for the rest of the season.”
Lee’s place in the team was taken by James Brophy, which saw captain Jobi McAnuff come inside to partner Craig Clay in the centre of the pitch for Orient.
Brophy was a constant menace for Hartlepool, although should have scored when put through in the second half.
While McAnuff demonstrated his class with another consistent display and Edinburgh said: “Jobi worked so hard and for his tender age, he continues to lead by example with his performances.
“For me, (Josh) Coulson and (Marvin) Ekpiteta were also very good and Dean Brill too. Dean had very little to do, but when he did, he was safe.”
Given Orient had 10-men for most of the second period, the players still on the pitch impressed a huge amount.
The biggest compliment you could give O’s is the fact it seemed they were playing against 10 rather than with 10.
One of the key reasons behind this was the supreme energy levels of Clay, who was simply immense on Saturday.
He covered every blade of grass at the Breyer Group Stadium and was running on empty in the final minutes of stoppage time.
It was another top drawer display from the former Motherwell midfielder who has really shown his true quality so far this season.
Edinburgh added: “Craig was a force and at times I was trying to put the breaks on him! In the moment there only looked one team capable of winning and it is hard to put the reins on that.
“Some of the runs Craig was doing were quite incredible and we probably didn’t get the rub of the green we deserved.”