We’ve got Leyton Orient fan and former site contributor Brendan Pitcher in the hot seat today, talking about the O’s upcoming season.
Sum up last season for us from your perspective.
It was always going to be a difficult one following the passing of Justin Edinburgh and ending up finishing relatively comfortably away from the drop zone was probably about all we could have hoped for. It took time (and a brief spell with another manager) but towards the end of the campaign Ross Embleton began to put his own stamp on the side and we looked a better team for it.
What has your transfer business been like this summer?
Slightly quiet, as to be expected really considering a large proportion of our squad was already under contract, along with the current climate and the enforcement of the salary cap. The arrival of Ouss Cisse on loan in January played a big part in our turnaround in form, so tying him down permanently was an important piece of business. Jordan Thomas, a forward-thinking right-back on loan from Norwich, is the only real new player we’ve brought in and I know many are hopeful he’ll be able to provide the sort of attacking impetus from full-back that James Brophy does so well on the opposite side of the pitch.
How has pre-season been for you?
Pretty standard. We picked up wins against Reading’s U23s, Spurs’ U23s, Gillingham and Bishops Stortford and lost to Northampton and West Ham’s U23s. Obviously, you don’t like to read into results too much in pre-season but I think Embleton will be pleased with how it’s gone.
Which players are looking like they’ll stand out this season?
Lee Angol and Conor Wilkinson, two of our marquee signings last summer, have both looked bright in pre-season and hopefully they have a big campaign in them given that they flattered to deceive last time out. Lawrence Vigouroux’s distribution looks like it’ll be a key factor in the way we play this year and I think he’s sure to be an important player for us as well.
Have you tried our League One and Two scorers quiz?
Any players likely to explode onto the scene from nowhere for you?
Ruel Sotiriou established himself as a first team player and, after eventually signing a new contract last month, he could make a big impact upon League Two this season. In terms of a player out of nowhere, Irish full back, Shadrach Ogie stands out. He looks an incredible athlete and has shown some nice touches in the few cameos he’s had in the first team.
Which matches are you most looking forward to this season?
I think Southend is a big one. We haven’t played them in the league for over a decade now so here’s hoping we’ll be allowed in come the away fixture at Roots Hall in April. Every League Two team is probably looking forward to coming up against Bolton this year and fixtures against Salford always seem to have that extra added spice too given the recent past between the two sides.
What can teams expect from you this season?
I think we’ll set up in a 433 system with full-backs that will bomb on and overlap our inverted wingers. We’ll be patient in our build up play and look to create openings with a short passing style. Our defensive stats were pretty poor last season, however, former Millwall and Wycombe defender, Danny Senda has come in as our new assistant manager with shoring up the defence supposedly being his main focus, so fingers crossed we’ll look steadier at the back this season too.
Where do you think you’ll finish?
I’ll go slap bang in the middle of the table with 12th.