With the 2016/17 League Two season underway, 24 clubs face the prospect of promotion or relegation from the Football League. The Leyton Orient season was looked forward to by most fans as the club looked to fight for the promotion places.
The East London side are now in their second season in the third-tier, following relegation from League One last year. The Os’ begin their campaign under new management. Andy Hessenthaler is the club’s seventh manager is just two years. As well as the new manager, there have already been several new additions to the squad this summer. Despite falling short of expectations last season, fans maintain their high expectations of the club to succeed this season.
Appointment of Andy Hessenthaler
Hessenthaler worked as assistant manager at the club last season, serving under former managers Ian Hendon and Kevin Nolan. After Nolan’s dismissal from his position as manager last season, Hessenthaler took charge for the remaining five games. The appointment seemed logical as he had initially worked with majority of the squad. However this is the Englishman’s first managerial post and he shall be riding a wave of expectations. Based on experience, Hessenthaler is most certainly capable of re-structuring Orient. However the course of the season shall reflect on his ability to fulfil expectations.
Activity in the Transfer Window
During pre-season the club was also active in the transfer window. There were departures from the club as last season’s captain, Matieu Baudry, left for Doncaster Rovers on a free. Also Welsh midfielder Lloyd James signed for Devon club Exeter City on a free. The departure of these two players could prove costly.
On the other hand, the O’s add new faces the squad. Gavin Massey signed on a free from Colchester United; striker Jordan Bowery joined from Oxford United; Liam Kelly from Oldham Athletic and David Weir was brought in from Championship outfit Burton Albion. Additionally, it can be considered a bonus that the club retained the services of striker Jay Simpson. The former Hull City forward scored 25 goals last season, a crucial figure in the attacking department.
Home Defeat to Newport County
Leyton Orient’s first home game of the season ended in a 1-0 defeat. Visitors Newport County collected all three points, as the losers put on an uninspiring performance. In an evenly matched affair between both sides, The Exiles took the lead as Jamie Turley scored just after half an hour played.
Despite scoring, County rarely threatened for the remaining 60 minutes. By contrast, Orient encountered a frustrating afternoon. The best chance of the game presented itself to striker Ollie Palmer, who could only guide his header wide, capping off a frustrating afternoon at Brisbane Road.
That result, coupled with an opening day draw at newly-promoted Cheltenham Town, means that the team have endured a stiff start. There is no question that Hessenthaler shall have his work cut out for this season. However, with 44 games to go, there is still room for improvement.