Search

Hendon’s ever-present happy to prove doubters wrong

17:00 17 September 2015

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon (pic: Simon O

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Connor Essam discusses life at Leyton Orient, people insisting he was mad to join the east Londoners and being with Hendon and Hessenthaler again

Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam gets to grips with his Barnet opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam gets to grips with his Barnet opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Only one person has played every minute for Leyton Orient this season under head coach Ian Hendon and that man admits he is relishing life back in the Football League.

Connor Essam has featured in all seven of the O’s League Two matches and also in the Capital One Cup defeat to MK Dons and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash at Luton Town.

The 23-year-old is back in the fourth tier of English football after captaining Dover Athletic in the Conference Premier, now named the National League, last year.

He reveals people suggested he was mad to join Orient in the summer because he would just be a ‘squad player’, but the former Gillingham and Crawley Town ace has proved the doubters wrong by beginning the campaign strongly.

Essam is delighted to have repaid the faith of Hendon and assistant Andy Hessenthaler and is pleased with how his partnership with O’s skipper Mathieu Baudry is developing in the centre of defence.

He said: “Am I the only player to have played every minute for Leyton Orient this season? I didn’t know that, but it is pleasing to hear and all I wanted really was regular football.

“I have to thank the gaffer for putting his faith in me and giving me a run of games. I think I am still getting better and the more matches I play the more I will continue to improve so personally it has been a decent, consistent start and obviously for the team as well.

“We have had disappointment in the cups, but I think everyone knows that our priority is the league and to be top after seven games, everybody would have taken that at the beginning of the campaign so we have had a good solid start and we are ready to push on.”

Essam continued: “I knew the gaffer from before at Gillingham and ‘Hessy’ as well so they knew a lot about me, but I have worked hard in pre-season and I am the fittest and in the best shape I have ever been.

“On the pitch it has been decent and I am glad to be forming a little bit of a partnership with ‘Frenchy’ in the middle.

“We are still learning about each other as well, it doesn’t just happen over night. He is still learning about me and vice versa so I believe we will only get better and we are going in the right direction.”

Essam enjoyed a lot of success with Dover after joining when he left Crawley by mutual consent on September 1 of last year.

He captained the non-league club and helped them reach the third round of the FA Cup where they played against Premier League side Crystal Palace.

But the defender always wanted a return to the Football League and felt the opportunity to link up with Hendon and Hessenthaler was one too good to turn down.

“I had spoken to a couple of League Two clubs in the summer and most of them knew my situation, I wanted to play league football so I spoke to a few teams, but nobody could guarantee me first team football,” added Essam.

“They couldn’t guarantee me that here either, but I knew the gaffer and ‘Hessy’ knew me and vice versa so I wanted to come here and show them what I am about.

“I have grown up a lot as well over the past two or three years since they have had me so I felt their was a place at Orient for me. I have come to the club, trained hard and proved that and hopefully they are pleased with my performances and I am beginning to repay the faith they put in me.”

Essam signed for the Brisbane Road outfit in the summer after impressing during a trial period, but not everyone was convinced he’d make the cut in east London.

He was always confident in his ability, though, and to have played every minute of every match this season is testament to the 23-year-old’s talent.

“A lot of people said ‘are you mad going into a massive club like Leyton Orient, you are going to get lost in the squad,’ but I didn’t see it like that,” said Essam.

“I was happy at Dover and had a good season, but without being disrespectful to the club or the National League because it is a great league, it wasn’t where I wanted to be.

“When this opportunity came up I just wanted to grab it because I believe in my ability and I am still young, just turned 23, so I still have a lot of learning to do and I think I am at a good place to do that.

“The coaching is good here and everyone is willing to help. The squad is obviously not massive so they are able to help every single one of us so I thought Leyton Orient was the best place for me to learn and improve and obviously play as well and it has been a great move so I am very happy.”

Related articles

Latest East London Sports News

Leyton Orient boss Andy Hessenthaler looks on (pic: Simon O'Connor)

Pre-season friendly: Leyton Orient 0 Charlton Athletic 0

Fri, 16:00
Leyton Orient's badge outside Brisbane Road (pic: Play With A Legend).

Ex-Oldham Athletic ace will play his first home match at E10 and has discussed his role in helping improve the youngsters in the squad

Fri, 13:02
New Leyton Orient midfielder Robbie Weir shows his delight after signing for the club (pic: Leyton Orient FC).

Experienced midfielder has demonstrated his leadership qualities throughout the summer

Fri, 12:00
Russell Slade (left) and Kevin Nugent will return to Brisbane Road this weekend with Charlton Athletic (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Pair who worked together for a lengthy amount of time at Brisbane Road will return on Saturday with League One side Charlton

Thu, 16:00
Liam Kelly in action for Oldham against Blackpool last season (pic: Empics)

One time Scotland internationals reflects on his transfer and the possibility of earning promotion from League Two

Thu, 09:00
Thomas McCurtains enjoyed glorious weather at their annual fun day on Saturday

A round-up of the latest new from the Goodmayes club

Wed, 16:30
Leyton Orient boss Andy Hessenthaler looks on at Wealdstone (pic: Simon O'Connor)

O’s manager reflects on a great night for two players missing for much of last year and praises Freddy Moncur’s eagerness to impress

Wed, 15:30
Leyton Orient president Francesco Becchetti (centre) at Oxford United last season. Pic: SIMON O'CONNOR

Italian pleased battle that lasted over a year has finally come to a positive conclusion for the Orient president

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now