ORIENT goalkeeping coach Kevin Dearden has spoken after an eventful fortnight for the goalkeeping department at the Club. After losing Jamie Jones to a long-term back injury ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Gillingham, Dearden has seen youngster Jake Larkins wear the gloves over the festive period before bringing in Eldin Jakupovic in on loan from Hull City in time for the trip to Shrewsbury Town.
“It was a big blow learning the extent of Jamie’s injury,” said Dearden. “He had suffered with a bit of back stiffness but we didn’t think it was too serious and it’s a blow to Jamie too as he’s had a really strong season but I’m sure he’ll come back fitter and stronger than ever.
“The injury meant Jake got thrown in at the deep end at Gillingham and at Wolves and we took four points out of six and I don’t think we could have asked anymore of him. He gave a really good account of himself in difficult circumstances with 7,000 fans right on top of you at Priestfield and nearly 29,000 at Molineux. The double save at Molineux in the second half was particularly crucial and he gave a great account of himself.
“Yeovil was a bit more difficult for him but it’s all part of the learning curve of being a young goalkeeper and experiencing the highs and lows. He’ll be a better goalkeeper for it. But the situation we are in at the moment being near the top of the league and fighting for promotion, we need an experienced goalkeeper playing in the first team. Jake understands that and I’ve had a good chat with him and he’ll get his head down and keep working to be even more ready next time he comes in.”
That experienced custodian arrived this week in the form of Jakupovic who Dearden believes brings an air of calmness to the defensive unit.
“We’re very pleased to have Eldin on board, he brings Premier League experience and is a full international, he’s an experienced lad so it’s pleasing that not only we brought him in but that he had the desire to come to Leyton Orient.
“It’s difficult for Eldin coming in on Tuesday, meeting his new teammates at lunchtime but he’s a confident, bubbly character and been a pleasure to work with so far in the couple of days he’s been here.
“I thought, though he didn’t have a great deal to do in the game on Tuesday, he showed a calmness and confidence that helped the back four. Hopefully he can do well for us in the time he’s with us.”