For Sam Ling, the chance of playing at Brisbane Road has been a long time coming.

Having been released in July 2016 without making an appearance for the O’s, the defender made an emotional return to the club last month from Dagenham and Redbridge, making his first start in front of Orient supporters against Ebbsfleet United at the weekend.

Ling impressed in an unfamiliar left-back position for Justin Edinburgh’s men and the young defender says there’s still plenty more to come.

He said: “It was a strange feeling, but my debut in front of these amazing fans has been a long wait for me. I’m happy now that I’ve got it under my belt and I can kick on.

“I just feel like I’ve always got more to come. I’m starting to settle and prove to the fans why I’m here. Their support has been unreal, so I hope they can continue that support to get the best out of me and I’ll give the best for this club to get it back to where it belongs.”

The young defender played an influential role in Saturday’s game, setting up Orient’s goal when his delightful through ball released James Brophy in behind Ebbsfleet’s back line, whose powerful effort was deflected past his own man by the unfortunate Kenny Clark to put the O's back on level terms.

Both Ling and Brophy linked up superbly on a few occasions down the left during the match and the young defender admitted that the duo have been working together closely in training.

Ling said: “Yeah it’s different gear playing with Brophs (James Brophy). He’s a very good, talented player and in training, we’ve been building a little partnership and as you saw today, it’s working quite well. The more chances I get to play with him in front of me, the happier I am.”

Having had to bide his time since returning to the club last month, Ling has slowly forged his way into contention for the O’s, starting the last two league games in an unfamiliar left-back role.

Ling’s versatility has proven to be useful for Justin Edinburgh in recent weeks, with injury and illness decimating the club’s squad, and he insisted that he’s happy to play anywhere in order to help his boyhood team.

He said: “Left-back is not my primary position, but I’m happy to be on the pitch getting minutes. That’s all I care about. Left-back, right-back or even stick me in goal, I’m not fussed. As long as I’m on that pitch getting minutes, I’m happy.”