Josh Wright wants to secure promotion with Leyton Orient as tribute to Justin Edinburgh
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 28/06/19 7:02pm
Josh Wright wants to create a lasting legacy for Justin Edinburgh by helping Leyton Orient secure promotion this season.
Edinburgh, who led Orient back to the Football League as National League champions last season, died at the age of 49 earlier this month after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Having played under Edinburgh at Gillingham, Wright had been looking forward to working together with his close friend and mentor once again after completing a return to Orient from Bradford.
But that deal was ultimately Edinburgh's last as Orient boss and a heartbroken Wright says he is still struggling to come to terms with the loss.
"It's been very, very difficult. I've been very flat, very distant from my day-to-day life and how I would usually be," Wright told Sky Sports News.
"It's hard to explain really. It's shaken me, it's shocked me and it's something that many, many people will never understand or believe. Words will never be able to explain it.
"People know the relationship Justin and I had - we had a close bond. Yes, he was my gaffer and we were work colleagues, but over these last two-and-a-half years we stayed very close and became very close friends.
"We spoke daily, he was at my wedding and Justin and his family mean the world to me. I've become very close to the family, like I was with Justin. This isn't just losing someone that I look up to and respect within the game, I've truly lost a close family friend.
"It's obviously broken my heart and many other people. As a manager, he was someone that I could lean on day in day out, whether I was working or not. There's not many of them around, especially within this game, and he was one that looked after me.
"I think we were very similar people. I loved working with him, he just got the best out of me. I was so excited to work with him again and I had been waiting for the day for that to happen. But now it's a case of kicking on and everything that I do for the club is for him, trying to make him proud."
The Edinburgh family are currently seeking a change to the law regarding access to defibrillators at sports facilities as part of their work for the newly-formed JE3 Foundation.
English law does not regard defibrillators as compulsory equipment, something which Wright is hoping the Edinburgh family can change with their work.
"That is what the family are all about," Wright said.
"Kerri, Charlie and Cydney, they are all working very, very hard at the moment to put the JE3Foundation in place to raise awareness.
"So, if and when these things happen, it will ensure that people are ready, available and know how to act when something like this happens."
Orient named Ross Embleton as their interim head coach ahead of the new campaign following the death of Edinburgh, with Danny Webb and Jobi McAnuff appointed as interim assistant coach and interim player coach respectively.
Wright is hoping a continuation of the ethos instilled by Edinburgh will set Orient on their way during the forthcoming season, with promotion to League One the target for the 29-year-old midfielder.
"I didn't know what was going to happen and the managerial position was at the back of my mind because at the beginning it's extremely raw," Wright said.
"But, as time went on, I thought that Ross would be given the job and I thought it was the best thing to happen.
"I've heard many good things about Ross and I am very excited to link up and start working with him. Justin spoke so highly of him as have many others.
"The boys obviously already know about his coaching style, so it can be kept from within. I think it's perfect as everyone can work off the same page and it doesn't change that much. I think it was the only way forward.
"I'm sure we will be in a great place to kick on again. For me, promotion is the aim and I am sure all the boys feel the same. We are going to go straight in from day one and aim for that."
For more information on the JE3 Foundation, please click here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justinedinburgh3