Millwall boss explains why Alex Mitchell not cleared to play in FA Cup for O’s – and Tyler Burey set for Hartlepool return

Millwall manager Gary Rowett has admitted that they did not want Alex Mitchell to be ineligible to play for them in the FA Cup – with the on-loan defender not featuring for Leyton Orient in the competition.

The 19-year-old centre-back has made 13 appearances in League Two for the O’s and only been on the losing side once.

Mitchell was handed his debut for the Lions in the EFL Cup against Cambridge in late August, just before being cleared to join Orient. The east London club are managed by Kenny Jackett, who has a lengthy and successful spell in charge of the Lions.

Asked about Mitchell’s absence from the O’s FA Cup side, which beat Tranmere 4-0 on Saturday in the second round, Rowett told the South London Press: “We just wanted to leave that option. We spoke to Kenny [Jackett, Orient manager] the other day, we had a good conversation. He is really pleased with Alex and it is about where we see him after January.

“The plans at the moment are not to recall him, but we need to leave that open. If we do get some injuries, do call him back and then he isn’t available for the FA Cup it doesn’t make any sense. We felt it was better to give ourselves that opportunity, if required.

“The intention for all the loan players is hopefully they stay out and play football but you have to leave that little leeway.

“If we bring a player back and they sit on the bench for four months or are not in the squad then how does that help his development? We want to open that pathway to our first-team and that pathway is to play games in the lower divisions and see how they develop.

“Ideally we don’t want to bring them back to just be selfish and have cover. As I’ve said before, in Danny McNamara’s he came back with a strong chance to play – then it’s a different conversation. We’ll make good decisions for the player and long-term future.”

Isaac Olaofe came off in Sutton United’s 2-1 FA Cup reverse to Bristol Rovers.

“He had a dead leg,” said Rowett. “I had a text from our head of recruitment Harvey [Bussell]. Him and Nuge [Kevin Nugent] try and stay in touch with players and we watch their highlights clips, their games and progress.

“Tanto just had a dead leg. Hopefully he’ll be available for their next game but I haven’t had an update just yet.”

Winger Tyler Burey could be set to rejoin up with Hartlepool United next week. The winger, 20, had made an impressive start for the League Two side – scoring in three successive matches – before suffering a major hamstring injury at the beginning of September.

“He has trained well for the best part of last week and we want him to train this week and play a part in a game on Friday for our U23s against Cardiff,” said Rowett. “If he gets through 45 minutes well then we’ll send him back to Hartlepool in the hope he can go and impact their season.

“He’s been out a long time and it was a serious injury. We don’t want to just send him back for two or three days and be irresponsible. We want to give him part of a game and be a little more confident that he’s fit.”



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