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Symons in line for Leyton Orient hotseat

Former Fulham boss Kit Symons is a contender for the vacant managerial position at League Two Leyton Orient, according to reports this afternoon.

Orient have looking for a new boss after Ian Hendon was sacked following last weekend’s home defeat by Exeter City. The O’s won their first five league games of the season, but they have won just four times in 21 matches and are now in eleventh place, two points of the play-offs. The club’s board decided to act in order to preserve their promotion hopes.

Several names are under consideration at Brisbane Road but Symons is believed to be high on the shortlist Orient are compiling. The former Welsh assistant manager has been out of work since being sacked by Fulham in November, having repaired much of the damage done during Felix Magath’s disastrous reign at Craven Cottage. Symons ensured the Whites stayed in the Championship but the club have slumped since his departure – making another relegation battle a distinct possibility.

Leyton Orient loan Smith

Fulham midfielder Alex Smith has joined League One side Leyton Orient on loan.

The 21-year-old, who can also play in defence, joins the Brisbane Road outfit until 2 January.

Smith, who has been on the books at the Premier League side for 11 seasons, made his debut for Fulham as a sub against West Brom in September.

The Croydon-born player is eligible to make his debut for the O’s when they welcome Preston North End on Saturday.

Former Fulham defender jailed for witness intimidation

Here’s a story you don’t read every day. Elliot Omozusi, once a promising young full-back with Fulham, was jailed for two and a half years today after being found guilty of witness intimidation at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Omozusi, who had been playing for Leyton Orient, was one of a gang of six men who chased a man, who had given evidence that had to led to the killers of Agnes Sina-Inakoju being jailed for life. Sixteen year-old Sina-Inakoju was shot dead in an east London pizza restaurant last April. The witness, who can’t be named for legal reasons, helped police find the killers –¬†Leon Dunkley and Mohammed Smoured – after his house was ransacked following the shooting.

The witness ran to police officers after a chance encounter with the gang members on a night out in Liverpool last May. They chased him from outside a nightclub until they were stopped by an on-duty police officer. Omozusi, who was wearing a shirt emblazoned with ‘London Fields’ – the name of the gang connected with Agnes’ shooting – when he was arrested, claimed that he ‘was just having a laugh’. It was an excuse the police – and the jury – didn’t believe.

It all seems a far cry from Omozusi’s Fulham career. He looked a real prospect when he emerged from the club’s youth team as a tall and attacking defender. He made his debut in the League Cup defeat by Wycombe in September 2006 and made his first start for the club at Leicester in the FA Cup. He made his first league start in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland in October and, the following week, saw him create a crucial second goal for Clint Dempsey in a vital 3-1 win over Reading. He was, however, sent off for a second bookable offence in injury-time. Omozusi went on to make nine appearances that year, before falling down the pecking order when Roy Hodgson replaced Lawrie Sanchez as manager.

He had loan spells at Norwich and Charlton, before being released by Fulham in January 2010. He joined Leyton Orient, initially on trial, and went on to make 62 appearances for the O’s before his trial.

Fulham sign Zakuani

Fulham have confirmed the signing of Leyton Orient defender Gabriel Zakuani subject to a medical.

Zakuani, who helped Orient win promotion from League Two last season, starred as the O’s knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup at the third round stage in January and Fulham had been locked in negotiations lasting a couple of months with the Brisbane Road side to finalise a deal. The 20 year-old centre back, who attracted interested from a number of Premiership clubs, made his Orient debut at 16 and established himself as a regular in Martin Ling’s defence, making 98 appearances in total.

Fulham manager Chris Coleman, who has been targeting central defensive reinforcements this summer, said: ‘I’m very happy that Gabriel has joined us this season; he is a really bright prospect for the future and one that I have been keeping my eye on over the last couple of seasons. He has great maturity for his age and I believe that over time he will establish himself as a formidable force at the back. We managed to beat off considerable competition in the race for Gabriel’s signature, so I’m delighted that he has chosen to commit his future to Fulham for the long term.’

DR Congo international Zakuani, who has signed a four year contract at Craven Cottage added: ‘Joining Fulham is a great move for me and I’m looking forward to joining the squad in Devon for the first pre-season training camp. Everyone at the Club has been really welcoming and Chris Coleman has talked to me about the Club’s plans for the future, which is all positive so I’m happy to be a part of that. I had a great time with Orient and would like to thank all the fans for making my time there so special, and now I just want to prove myself to the Fulham fans in the same way.’

Zakuani set to join Fulham

Fulham are set to sign Leyton Orient defender Gabriel Zakuani, according to the League Two side.

The two clubs have been in talks over the 20-year-old Democratic Republic of Congo international for the past month. Martin Ling had wanted to hold onto the highly rated centre back, who starred when Orient knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup in January, but O’s have now revealed they are close to agreeing a fee with Fulham and expect the transfer to be completed on Monday.

The final fee is expected to exceed the club record £600,000 that Orient were paid for John Chiedozie in 1981. Zakuani has scored three goals in nearly a century of appearances at Brisbane Road.