Andy Edwards enjoying assistant manager role at Leyton Orient
- Credit: Archant
Experienced coach reflects on victory at Dagenham and how results in pre-season count for little in the end
Andy Edwards has thoroughly enjoyed moving up and working with the Leyton Orient first team this summer.
The 44-year-old has been the Academy Director at Brisbane Road since 2011 and overseen several youngsters progress and enjoy success in the professional game.
When Kevin Nolan took over the O’s in January, he gave Edwards a bigger role with the first team.
After Nolan’s departure, Andy Hessenthaler was given the managers job on a full time role after being caretaker.
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He moved quickly to promote Orient’s Academy Director to the role of assistant and the ex-Southend United defender is pleased with how the switch has gone so far.
Edwards said: “I really enjoyed the back end of last year and the opportunity to move up to work with the first team was something I really appreciated.
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“I’ve got the chance to stay with the first team and it’s been excellent along with Danny Webb, he has also come up from the academy.
“It has been a good experience, although not too much different because it is about coaching players and trying to put on good sessions that reflect the way we want to play.”
Hessenthaler, Edwards and Webb watched on from the sidelines at Victoria Road last night as O’s faced local rivals Dagenham & Redbridge.
The hosts took the lead in the 18th minute when Oliver Hawkins tapped in at the back post unmarked.
Orient slowly worked their way back into the game, however, and equalised when Armand Gnanduillet converted Dean Cox’s dangerous cross just before half time.
Paul McCallum continued his recovery by popping up on the stroke of 90 minutes to head in the winner.
“We didn’t start well enough, the first 18 to 20 minutes we weren’t quite sharp enough,” said Edwards.
“Dagenham moved the ball better, they were better without it, but we stayed in the game to an extent.
“We went a goal down but I thought it gave us a little bit of a wake up call and we started to make inroads into the game. Second half I thought we were the better side.”
Orient’s triumph at their local rivals means they have tasted defeat since losing 2-0 at Dover Athletic on July 16.
They’ve won three of their pre-season matches, against Wealdstone, Woking and now Dagenham.
At the weekend they held League One side Charlton Athletic, but Edwards said results don’t mean too much during the summer.
He added: “It was a tough test, you always have a tough game at Dagenham and they have some good players.
“It is a well run club and it was always going to be a challenge, but ultimately it comes down to the league campaign.
“As history has always proved pre-season results mean very little so the players being ready and the staff for August 6 is the main priority.”
What can be important during the summer is building up fitness and form ahead of the opening fixture of the campaign.
McCallum, after missing so much of the 2015/16 season, is looking sharp again and has scored twice in his last two appearances.
“It is always good for strikers to score goals and ultimately you win games by scoring goals,” said Edwards.
“It doesn’t always matter where they come from, but if your forwards are knocking them in it is great for them and the team.”