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Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh ready to go up against ‘excellent’ Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 December 2017

New Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh during his time in charge of Gillingham (pic: Nigel French/PA)

New Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh during his time in charge of Gillingham (pic: Nigel French/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

The O’s travel to Kent looking to extend their unbeaten run to three games, but well aware of the challenge the Stones will provide

Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh is looking forward to pitting his wits up against one of the hottest managerial prospects in non-league football this weekend.

The O’s make the trip across the river on Saturday to face Maidstone United in the National League aiming to extend their unbeaten run to three games after wins over Sutton United and Haringey Borough this month.

Edinburgh expects a tricky match against the Stones, who have gone from the Bostik South (step four) all the way to the top of the non-league pyramid since 2011 under 38-year-old boss Jay Saunders.

“Jay’s reputation seems to be growing and rightly so because he’s done an excellent job at Maidstone,” said Edinburgh.

“I spoke to him a couple of times when I was Gillingham manager about players maybe going there from Gillingham and I’m really pleased to see all young guys do well.

“I’ve been there myself and it’s tough at times. It can be a difficult road and we know we’ll be in for a tough encounter on Saturday.”

Despite being Gills manager for 23 months, Edinburgh never came up against Saunders’ Stones side – not even in a friendly fixture.

The 48-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, is well aware of the challenge facing Orient this weekend, but will look to help the O’s complete their first double this term after beating the Kent club 2-0 back on August 12 at Brisbane Road.

Edinburgh added: “I never played Maidstone when I was at Gillingham, but I know the area and the club.

“They’ve come through the leagues, so it is going to be a tough encounter, but we know what to expect.”

Orient will play on a 3G pitch again this weekend, but will have more confidence after defeating Haringey on an artificial surface last Saturday.

Following losses on 3G pitches at Sutton (2-0) and Bromley (6-1) at the beginning of the campaign, O’s will hope to avoid any more trouble on ‘plastic surfaces’ this Saturday.

“We can’t say we haven’t prepared to play on the 3G. There is more confidence in the group now and we want to keep this run going,” said Edinburgh.

After visiting Maidstone, Orient will host Dagenham & Redbridge on Boxing Day (Tuesday) and also have a trip to Bognor Regis Town, of the National League South, coming up in 2018.

The O’s were drawn away to the Rocks in the second round of the FA Trophy on Monday afternoon with the tie set to be played on January 13.

Bognor are 21st in the National League South, but Orient’s immediate focus is to keep their unbeaten run going at Gallagher Stadium.

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