Recently released Leyton Orient winger Dean Cox wants to stay local as he hunts for his next club.
The diminutive wide-player, 29, spent seven years in East London with the O’s, but was released on September 1st, just hours after the summer transfer window shut.
Due to new Football League rules, that means he cannot play for another league club until the January transfer window opens and although he will drop into non-league for the meantime, Cox wants to secure his next league club quickly.
He told Crawley News: “I was hoping we could have got things sorted before the 11pm deadline [on August 31] and then I could have gone to a Football League club.
“There were delays though and that wasn’t possible.
I didn’t want to leave but it had been made clear to me I wasn’t in the first team plans at Orient, so even once the deadline had passed it seemed better to go somewhere else and play, even if meant a spell outside the Football League.
“I’d rather be playing somewhere than nowhere.”
Cox is from Sussex, having started his career at Brighton, and commuted everyday to training while at Orient, and is keen to stay in the same area.
This means local sides such League Two Portsmouth, and especially Crawley Town, are in the driving seat.
The winger said: “I want to sort the Football League club first and I’ve had a call from Whitehawk, so we’ll see.
“I’m really interested in signing for Crawley and we have had initial talks and it’s on-going. We’re in talks and I hope we can come to an agreement over the financial side of it within the next week.
“I had contact from Portsmouth and MK Dons as well but I would probably prefer Crawley at the moment because they are closest on the map, though Portsmouth isn’t that far.
For the next four months, Cox will be plying his trade well below the standard he is used to, but it certainly doesn’t look like it will be long before we see him back in the EFL.