ORIENT striker Jabo Ibehre is hoping to rediscover the form this season that saw him rated as one of the hottest prospects in the lower leagues when he first burst onto the scene as a raw 17-year-old at the end of the 2000-01 campaign.

A succession of injuries have hampered the frontman's progress at Brisbane Road.

Although having been rewarded with a two-year contract at the end of last season, a fit again Ibehre is keen not only to get his career back on track but also to continue to reward Martin Ling for the faith that he has shown in him with more goals like the match winner he grabbed at Cheltenham on Saturday.

He said: "I was really pleased to get off the mark at Cheltenham, especially as it helped the team get it's first win of the season as well.

"I feel really good at the moment and having had a frustrating time with injuries over the last few years I can honestly say that I haven't felt this good in a long time.

"Like the other players I really worked hard over the pre-season.

"And because I have had no reaction with groin problem I've had over the last few years, I feel as sharp and as a fit as I did when I was a youth team player getting into the first team here.

"It gave me a real lift last year when the manager gave me a new contract, but I have worked with him for a long time at the club and he knows exactly what I can do when I'm fit.

"So hopefully now I can start to rediscover my form throughout the whole season and reward Martin for the faith he has shown in me."

But while Ibehre has put in a couple of excellent performances during the last couple of games he has started for the east Londoners, he is fully aware that with captain and last season's top scorer Gary Alexander fit again he needs to keep up the good work if he is to maintain a regular place in the O's starting line-up.

He continued: "I was pleased that after the Cambridge game last week that Martin Ling still kept me involved from the start on Saturday even though Gary Alexander was back.

"There will be good competition for places this year.

"And while Gary and Lee Steele have got the number nine and ten shirts, I don't look into that too much as it will be about taking your chances in the team when you get them.

"At the end of the day it all comes down to football and not shirt numbers, because the boss is the kind of manager who will stick by you if you are playing well."

Ibehre is also full of praise for Ling's positive style of football and believes the O's have what it takes to be a force in League Two this season.

He added: "Having worked so hard over pre-season it was a disappointing way to start the campaign against Macclesfield.

"But we have put a couple of good results together at Cambridge and Cheltenham now and hopefully we can continue against Oxford on Saturday.

"It will be a tough game, but the manager is always encouraging us to be positive in matches, which is how we want to play and I believe it can be successful for us this season."