ALTON Thelwell claims he is refusing to let his current knee injury from preventing him from being involved in Orient's push for success this season.

But while the O's remain just a point off top spot in League One, former Spurs defender Thelwell claims that he isn't just playing through the pain barrier because of the east Londoners' flying start.

He said: "I had an injection about three weeks ago which was supposed to help prevent the knee from swelling up after games, but at the moment that isn't the case.

"So after we play I have to take a couple of days off from training and then I'm in the gym doing a bit of bike and upper body work to keep me trim.

"There is still a bit of pain when I go out on the pitch, but once that whistle goes and when the adrenalin kicks in you forget all about it really.

"Like any player I just want to play and to be honest it has nothing to do with the fact that we are doing well, because even if we were down there struggling in the table I'd want to be out there doing my bit.

"At the moment we will continue to asses the knee as we go on and hopefully it will start to improve so that I can begin doing the strengthening work with our physio Lewis (Manning). Hopefully that will happen during the next few weeks, because the busy Christmas period isn't far off now."

The ex-Hull centre-half is also fully focused on helping Martin Ling's men prevent the late goals that have cost them dearly in their last two games.

He added: "If you take into account the Oldham game we have only conceded two late goals in our last three matches.

"Of course that has cost us, because against Swindon they scored with the very last kick to secure a draw that prevented us from going back to the top of the table.

"Again it was equally frustrating against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday, because it was another game we should have looked to close out.

"Perhaps we invited them onto us a bit too much in the second half, because while you don't want to go gun-ho at 1-0 up we didn't really attack them.

"We found ourselves under a lot of pressure and it was even more annoying for me because my man got in to score the equaliser.

"There has been an improvement though and we are starting to look like we did at the start of the season when we were keeping a lot more cleansheets, so hopefully with a bit more work we will be back to that level soon."