Eldin Jakupovic has set his sights on helping Orient win enough points to secure automatic promotion before his loan finishes at the end of April.
The Bosnian goalkeeper has been a revelation for the O’s during his two spells at Brisbane Road. Hull City keeper Jakupovic has won six games and drawn one of his seven appearances for Orient and kept five clean sheets.
The 29-year-old is unable to complete the season with the League 1 side because his 93-day loan expires just after the Wolves home game. This means Jakupovic will miss the last two league matches and potentially the play-offs. But the shot stopper insists his target is to ensure Orient win promotion by the time he returns to his Premier League club.
Jakupovic said: “Getting promotion is the most important thing. I hope that we can get enough points by the Wolves game to get automatic promotion because the play-offs will be difficult. That’s why we have to keep going and stay in front of Wolves and Brentford.
“I know the play-offs are always difficult and I want to help the team get as many points as possible.”
He added: “When I came here before the Preston game there were 70 days left. I’m here until the 24th of April. I have 11 games more with this team and I hope by the Wolves game we will know if we’re going straight up or if we have to win the play-offs. If we’re in the play-offs I hope they will get to the Championship.”
The confident keeper has not given up hope of featuring in this summer’s World Cup for Bosnia but admits it is out of his control and he will just focus on continuing to impress for the O’s.
Jakupovic said: “I will try and give my best for this club but whether I go to the World Cup isn’t up to me. I’ll do my best and if they call me they call me. But if not then it’s not something bad. I have to concentrate on my club now here and help them reach the Championship. This is my first objective.”
Jakupovic made an immediate impact for Orient as he helped them win his first four games. But a suspension to Hull’s Allan McGregor meant he was recalled last month. He was badly missed and it was no coincidence the O’s stumbled to three consecutive defeats. But Russell Slade moved quickly to bring the goalkeeper back and it has paid off with two wins and a draw at Preston in his first game of his second spell.
Jakupovic said: “I was sad when I left but this is football. It was frustrating to go back after the Coventry game. The situation with McGregor happened and there was nothing I could do about it. I was sad after those three games while I was away, but now I think we are back on the right way.
“I’m happy to be back and we’re all very happy we’ve taken seven points from these last three games. We lost two home games and one away so everybody’s happy now and I hope we can keep this form going.
“We are a good, young team. Everybody runs for each other and we have to keep our form until the end of the season. I know it will be difficult but we have to fight and run for everything. If we score goals everything will be alright.”
The future of Jakupovic beyond this season is up in the air with his contract ending in the summer. First-choice keeper Jamie Jones is likely to be fit before the end of the season but the Hull shot stopper has not ruled out a permanent switch to Orient next season.
He said: “My contract with Hull finishes in the summer so I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ll see at the end of the season.”
In his short time at the club, Jakupovic has been impressed by Slade and thinks he deserves a chance to manage in the Championship.
“He's a good person and a good character,” the keeper said. “You see we are top of the league but he’s done a very good job and I hope for him, the fans and the club that we can go up.”