What could have gone wrong last season for Leyton Orient did go wrong. From 2-0 up in the League One play-off final 12 months previous, Orient were relegated after a final day defeat to Swindon Town. 4 managers and plenty of off-pitch uncertainty was replicated on it and now the club have a big task to rebuild and fight for promotion this season.
Last Season: League One (23rd)
Manager: Ian Hendon
GKs: Gary Woods, Charlie Grainger, Sam Sargeant, Alex Cisak
DFs: Sean Clohessy, Mathieu Baudry, Sam Ling, Alan Dunne, Connor Essam, Jack Humphrey, Frazer Shaw, Shane Lowry
MFs: Dean Cox, Lloyd James, Jobi McAnuff, Harry Lee, Bradley Pritchard, Scott Kashket, Montel Agyemang, Freddy Moncur, Sammy Moore, Sandro Semedo, Blair Turgott
FWs: Jay Simpson, Victor Odeboyejo, Paul McCallum, Ollie Palmer
In: Sean Clohessy (Colchester United), Paul McCallum (West Ham United), Sammy Moore (AFC Wimbledon), Blair Turgott (Coventry City), Ollie Palmer (Mansfield Town), Alex Cisak (Burnley), Alan Dunne (Millwall), Connor Essam (Dover), Frazer Shaw (Dulwich Hamlet)
Out: Adam Legzdins (Birmingham City), Scott Cuthbert (Luton Town), Chris Dagnall (Kerala Blasters), Kevin Lisbie (Barnet), Elliot Omozusi (Cambridge United), Gary Sawyer (Plymouth Argyle), Dave Mooney (Southend United), Darius Henderson (Scunthorpe United), Romain Vincelot (Coventry City), Shaun Batt (Barnet), Nathan Clarke (Bradford City)
First Six: Barnet (H), Dagenham & Redbridge (A), Stevenage (H), Newport County (A), Bristol Rovers (H), Exeter City (A)
Likely Lineup: (4-4-2) Cisak – Clohessy, Dunne, Baudry, Ling – James, Kashket, McAnuff, Cox – Simpson, Palmer
A word from…John Mackie
On his time at Leyton Orient It was a fantastic time for me, it didn’t start off too well as I went there with a knee injury but the second season and the last season were fantastic.
We got promoted from League Two to League One which was fantastic for us, being captain made it even more special for me personally too.
On defensive partnerships Without a doubt it’s important, he [Gabriel Zakuani] was fantastic for me, young and quick. I had the experience and guidance to help him out but we had Matthew Lockwood at left-back too, overall we had a good defence and everyone knew what they were doing.
But me and Gab played the majority of the season together and it worked out fantastic for both of us with the promotion, then he got his move to Fulham which he thoroughly deserved.
On experiences as a youngster They really help you, especially my time at Reading under Pardew. The coaching was fantastic, I played against Chelsea with Crespo and Hasselbaink up front and you try and do your best.
We only lost 1-0 and got a lot of plaudits for it and those moments do help when you’re young, you try and pass that experience onto the younger players as you get more experienced as a player.
Martin Ling was excellent with me too, on the training pitch we knew every game we were going into what they’re strengths and weaknesses were. Training was also kept short and sharp, he brought in the players that we needed to get up, we brought some loanees like Paul Connor and overall he was fantastic for the club.
On the current side Hopefully it’s changed for the better now as last season was a disaster!
I’m hoping the chairman, the president or whatever he calls himself has learnt from it. It seems he’s going more in the right direction with an English coach and young, hungry players coming into the squad. It looks good on paper but we won’t know for a few weeks where they are, hopefully they’ve learnt their lesson and they can bounce straight back up.
Andy Hessenthaler has gone in and he’s a very good coach, the few people I still know there say they’ve had a very good pre-season, but collectively and individually you’ve got to work hard and results during pre-season have been positive. But it’s no good having a good pre-season and then it all falling apart in the first league game.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: It’s incredibly difficult to tell how Leyton Orient will do this season. The squad has changed almost beyond recognition but signs in pre-season have been positive. Given they were on the verge of the Championship, fans will want a quick return to League One.
Key Player: Jobi McAnuff – For a player who was in the Premier League not too long ago, the 33-year-old will bring experience and quality to League Two if he stays at the club. As it stands, Championship club Ipswich appear to be hot on his heels.
One to Watch: Scott Kashket – The 19-year-old made his first team debut last season and has chipped in during pre-season with goals and some good performances. At League Two level he should get plenty of opportunities to shine this season.