Leyton Orient winger James Dayton raring to go after mini-break from competitive football
PUBLISHED: 17:35 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:35 25 January 2018
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The former Cheltenham Town attacker discusses his recent injury, Saturday's postponement and why he is not surprised by Lee Johnson's success
James Dayton hasn’t kicked a competitive ball for close to three weeks now and it is therefore no surprise to hear the Leyton Orient winger is feeling fresh after a recent calf injury.
The 29-year-old last played for O’s on January 6 when he completed 90 minutes in their goalless draw at home to Boreham Wood in the National League.
Dayton picked up a slight calf problem during the stalemate and therefore missed the FA Trophy trip to Bognor Regis Town on January 13, but was set to return at Halifax Town last weekend.
The Shay pitch was frozen over, however, so it means the ex-Cheltenham Town winger is raring to go for the visit of Aldershot Town on Saturday.
“I had a tight calf for the Bognor game and we didn’t want to risk it, but I feel alright now,” said Dayton.
“Who knows whether I will benefit from this break, I guess I won’t know until Saturday and then the game after.
“I feel exactly how I did previously when I had played a load of games, so I feel quite good to be honest.”
Dayton, like all of his Orient team-mates, was looking forward to facing Halifax, but it ended up being a wasted trip for Justin Edinburgh’s team with the match postponed.
“It was really frustrating,” said the O’s winger. “We saw a picture in the week on Twitter with the pitch covered in snow, so we were all wondering whether it would be on or not.
“Obviously we travelled up there on Friday and I think it was around 10.30am on Saturday they did the inspection and it was called off.
“It is frustrating because we just wanted to go up there and play and now we have got to do it on a Tuesday night, but it is what it is. We’ll go there and hopefully get a result.”
Orient will need to be at their best over the next week to pick up six points out of six against Aldershot and Halifax.
If they do, Dayton will have a key part to play having been one of the O’s better performers during an up and down campaign.
Even when Orient went over three months without a league win, the one-time Crystal Palace trainee always generally looked bright.
There is no doubt the current season has been full of highs and lows for O’s, but Dayton is loving life back in the capital again after spells at Kilmarnock, Oldham Athletic, St Mirren and Cheltenham Town since departing Palace in 2009.
He said: “It has not always been easy this season, especially with the run we went on, but from a personal point of view being back in London and around my family again has been great.
“It is nice to be able to pop round and see my Mum and Dad in only five to 10 minutes, so that’s been great and I’ve really enjoyed my time at the club so far.”
During his period away from London, Dayton crossed paths with Lee Johnson, who has made the headlines over the last month after guiding Bristol City to the semi-finals of the League Cup.
The Orient number 27 first played with Johnson at Kilmarnock before the 36-year-old left to become the boss at Oldham Athletic.
It didn’t take long for Dayton to link up with him again at the Latics and he was pleased to see his ex-team-mate and manager push Manchester City so close in the last four of the League Cup this week before the Premier League side progressed 5-3 on aggregate.
“He has done really well and Bristol City gave a good account of themselves over the two legs,” said Dayton.
“If they had got a goal early the other night it might have been different, but he has done well and it doesn’t surprise me. He’s a very good coach and I enjoyed working under him.”