Craig Edwards backs ‘natural finisher’ Rowan Liburd to shine at Leyton Orient
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 February 2017
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Billericay Town boss believes ex-Reading striker can make his mark at Brisbane Road if given a regular run of games
Rowan Liburd’s former manager, Craig Edwards, has backed the Stevenage forward to help Leyton Orient in their battle to avoid relegation from League Two this season.
The 24-year-old striker joined the O’s on transfer deadline day on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.
Billericay Town boss Edwards helped develop Liburd during the 2014/15 season and praised the ex-Reading forward.
Edwards said: “Rowan has stayed in touch and occasionally I give him a call. He’s a lovely lad and I’m hoping he can make a success of his career because he’s a smashing fella.
“It only takes one to go in off his shin and he will be on a roll again because he’s undoubtedly a talented player.
“He’s a very good finisher and he just needs his confidence to be restored. If he can get a run of games I think he’ll do well, but he needs to be strong minded and take his chance.
“I’ll call him at some point this week to give him a little gee-up because this is a great opportunity for him.
“The physical side of the game won’t deter him, it is just about getting a run of matches, but at the same time he will only get that if he produces when given a chance.”
Edwards brought Liburd to Billericay, of the Ryman Premier, in the summer of 2014, but the striker didn’t hit the ground running.
An injury forced the ex-Chelsea youngster to miss the first few months of the season and he was then loaned out to Thamesmead Town.
Liburd returned full of confidence, however, and went on to score 22 goals for the Blues before Reading were alerted to him.
“We got Rowan in for pre-season back in 2014 and he instantly caught my eye, but he unfortunately broke his arm,” said Edwards.
“He got back fit again and was a bit off it, so we sent him on loan to Thamesmead and he did really well with them.
“When we brought him back, he just carried on improving throughout the season and was absolutely brilliant for us.”
Liburd impressed after moving to the Madejski Stadium and found the net numerous times for Reading’s under-21 side.
The form of the striker saw him earn first-team opportunities against the likes of Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest, but the sacking of Steve Clarke in December 2015 halted his progress.
And after a two-month loan spell with Wycombe Wanderers, Liburd departed the Royals in the summer to link up with Stevenage.
The Londoner has made 18 appearances for the Hertfordshire club in all competitions, although he’s only started two league games.
But, if Liburd is given a run of matches at O’s, Edwards feels he can make his mark having being signed for a five-figure fee last summer.
He added: “Rowan’s gone to Stevenage and been in and out of the first-team and never really been a regular starter.
“I’m hoping he gets a chance at Orient because he’s a natural finisher with good pace and he is well over six-foot-tall.
“You look at his attributes and he’s got the lot, but he has to start producing and I hope he does, especially for Danny Webb’s sake.
“I’m delighted Danny has got a chance over at Orient and fingers crossed this move can work out for everyone.”