A new defender on way after Tam blow

ORIENT boss Geraint Williams is looking to sign a central defender before the loan window slams shut on Thursday, writes TREVOR DAVIES. The club s star centre half, Tamika Mkandawire, suffered a medial knee ligament injury against Walsall on Saturday and

ORIENT boss Geraint Williams is looking to sign a central defender before the loan window slams shut on Thursday, writes TREVOR DAVIES.

The club's star centre half, Tamika Mkandawire, suffered a medial knee ligament injury against Walsall on Saturday and could miss several crucial games during the relegation run-in, as O's continue their battle to beat the drop.

Early indications are that the injury is not serious and the defender should be back in a couple of weeks.

But, with just eight games left to play, the absence of Mkandawire for two or three of them, will be a huge loss and Williams is looking for an experienced defender as a replacement.


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If he is successful in his search, it would mean the O's would have six players on loan - and could only name five in any one 16-man squad.

O's entertain Oldham Athletic on Saturday in another vital clash and as well as making a switch at the back to cover for Mkandawire, Williams will also be forced to make a change up front as on-loan striker Simon Church will be on international duty.

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Church, who will be staying at Brisbane Road until the end of the season, is with the Welsh under-21 squad.

They play Luxembourg away tomorrow (Friday) and the two countries meet again next Tuesday in a return at Llanelli.

Church, who scored in the recent matches against Carlisle and Stockport, extended his loan spell until the end of the season.

Boss Williams said: "Simon has done very well during his time here and he's now showing that if the chances come along he will take them."

Adam Boyd, who has been sidelined since suffering an ankle ligament injury against Crewe Alexandra, and has missed the last seven matches, played 90 minutes for the reserves against Watford on Monday night in a 1-0 win. He will come back into contention, along with Wayne Gray and Dean Morgan, as Williams must decide who will partner Scott McGleish up front.

However, Church will be the only Orient player missing because of international calls.

Jordan Spence, on loan from West Ham, was due to play for England under-19s last night at Walsall against the Czech Republic in a friendly, but will be back at Brisbane Road for the weekend, while Jason Demetriou has missed out on selection for the Cyprus squad, who have World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Bulgaria.

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