Date: 27th July 2006 at 1:31pm
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Martin Ling has moved to solve Orient`s defensive crisis by signing Welsh international Dave Partridge on a month`s loan from Bristol City.

Partridge signed for Bristol City last season from Motherwell for £150,000 but the arrival of new manager, Gary Johnson, has seen the Welshman fall out of favour at Ashton Gate. Partridge spent the second half of last season on loan at MK Dons. Partridge has played for the O`s before in a previous loan spell during the 2000/1 season making 7 appearances for the club before joining Motherwell where he enjoyed a hugely successful three years.

The Welshman has won six caps for his country and becomes the second current Welsh international at the club along with Glyn Garner. However, Orient fans will hope that Partridge`s performances improve significantly after failing to impress during his last stay at the club which also included a horrific elbow challenge which led to a red card. The defender has also been in the news after being arrested last October following an incident in a nightclub in Bristol, which led to manager Gary Johnson handing the Welshman a heavy fine.

Despite this, O`s manager Martin Ling is happy with the signing. “I’m happy that we’ve been able to get a player of Dave’s ability and pedigree into the club. It is an initial loan period but we could go on from there because I still feel we need a centre-half on a permanent basis in the building”, Ling said. “I may still be able to get that permanent signing in before the start of the season but I’m happy to have brought in Dave a week before Port Vale”.

Ling then went on to explain that Partridge will help to sure up the defensive cracks that have surfaced during Orient`s pre-season. “Dave obviously played here a little while ago so we know what he can bring to the team and we know that he will strengthen us defensively”, said Ling. “He did very well at Motherwell and earned a £150,000 move to Bristol City, but a change of management led to him going stale there. He still played 30 games in League One last year for Bristol City and MK Dons though, and this is a loan signing with a view to a permanent move”.

Partridge started his career at West Ham but having failed to make the breakthrough at Upton Park, Dundee United gave him the opportunity to showcase his talents. The Westminster born defender made 72 starts for the Tannadice outfit before moving to Motherwell where he clocked up 100 appearances including a Scottish cup semi-final. Despite the £150,000 move to Ashton Gate, Partridge failed to attain the same level of performance and will now try and resurrect his career at Brisbane Road.

Although this is not the signing that many O`s fans were hoping for, Martin Ling is quite correct in panic buying. There is little point buying a player that is not as competent as those currently in the squad and hence a loan deal represents good value. However, Partridge will have to win over a few doubters not least because of his temperament which is often questionable.

Partridge will play his first game for Orient at Colchester United on Saturday at Layer Road in Orient`s last pre-season friendly game.