Former Coventry City and Barnsley striker Chris Dagnall reflects on dream Leyton Orient debut

This Is Local London: Chris Dagnall celebrates his dream debut for Orient: Simon O'Connor Chris Dagnall celebrates his dream debut for Orient: Simon O'Connor

Chris Dagnall admitted debuts do not get much better than his cameo against Crewe after bagging a brace for Orient.

The 27-year-old joined the East Londoners on an 18-month contract last Thursday and made an instant impact after scoring twice as a substitute in their 2-1 victory at Crewe.

Dagnall said: “I can’t complain with that. You don’t get much better debuts than that with two goals and three points so I can’t complain.

“I just saw the space in behind the back four and saw he [Dean Cox] was going to play the ball in so I continued to make the run and had the chance to shoot and luckily it went in the far corner. It was just one of those days when you're doing well and the luck’s on your side.”

Dagnall was released from his contract with Championship side Barnsley earlier this month after scoring ten goals for them last season. He also had a loan spell at Coventry City earlier this campaign where he netted once. But the Merseysider insists it was an easy decision to make once the O’s showed an interest in him.

He said: “There were a few clubs interested to be honest, but when I was looking at the club I know a few people who played here and they’ve got nothing but good things to say about the place. I looked at where they are in the table and it was pretty much a straight forward decision in the end.”

Dagnall has spent the majority of his career in the north and enjoyed his most successful spell with Rochdale where he scored 60 goals in 142 starts. This will be his first time playing for a London club and admits it will be a big lifestyle change in the capital.

“It’s going to be a massive culture shock,” Dagnall said. “I was walking around the centre of London the other day. All my clubs have been up north so it’s a massive culture shock. It’s a different world when you come down here but I’m sure I will enjoy it and get used to it.

“My girlfriend’s moving down so we’re going to get a little apartment for the price of a five bedroom mansion up north.”

The striker will have his chance to make his home debut on Tuesday night against Coventry and hopes his recent spell with the Sky Blues can aid his new club.

Dagnall said: “It’s nice to be back involved and getting 45 minutes here will do me the world of good. It’s a great feeling to get back on the pitch and scoring goals again. My fitness levels are okay and I keep myself in shape which you’ve got to do these days. I’ll get some training behind me over the next ten days and hopefully push on for Coventry.

“It’s a shame it’s ten days until the next game but it’s a good break for the lads who have had a lot of games over Christmas and the new year. I know quite a bit about Coventry now so hopefully I can put that to good stead and help them get another three points.”

Orient could have their top scorer David Mooney back next week after his lay-off through suspension and a foot injury. Dagnall has welcomed the competition and thinks the O’s need to have plenty of options in each position if they are to win promotion to the Championship.

The striker said: “The only way I’m going to get in the team is by scoring goals and hopefully that will give the manager a headache for the Coventry game. If they’re serious about getting promotion they need enough players in every department of the team. They’re pretty strong up front now and once Mooney’s back it will only be good for the club.”

The O’s have a new hero to worship after Dagnall’s debut and the former Scunthorpe United striker was grateful for the support as the fans immediately gave him a terrace chant.

He said: “They [the fans] must have been thinking about that before I got on the pitch because as soon as I came on they started singing it. It’s nice for the fans to back you and support you.”

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