Billericay Town boss Craig Edwards excited to face ‘second club’ Leyton Orient this summer

Billericay Town manager Craig Edwards (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Billericay Town manager Craig Edwards (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO). - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Ryman Premier team will host an O’s XI on July 16, although the east Londoners don’t have a permanent manager in place

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler gives instructions from the touchline at Yeovil Town (pic:

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler gives instructions from the touchline at Yeovil Town (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Billericay Town manager Craig Edwards is looking forward to welcoming a Leyton Orient XI to the New Lodge on July 16 for a pre-season match and revealed who he arranged the friendly fixture with at the League Two club.

The O’s are yet to announce who will be their manager for the 2016/17 campaign, but have still made plans for the summer.

It is believed Andy Hessenthaler, currently in caretaker charge, has been arranging all of the east Londoners friendly matches so far.

But with Orient only expected to send a mixture of third-year scholars and academy players to face the Ryman Premier team, Edwards explained how the pre-season clash occurred.

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He said: “They said they will send a few young pros down, but whoever is involved for them will give us a good test. We have quite a young squad so they’ll be looking to do well to impress the Orient people.

“I have known Andy for a number of years, but the friendly actually come about through Danny Webb. He comes over to watch a few of our games and we said about doing it and he arranged, but I’m looking forward to seeing Andy and him. They are both good football people.”

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Edwards went on to admit he hopes Hessenthaler is given the job at Brisbane Road amid speculation he has been offered it on a permanent basis.

The Billericay boss revealed how he went head-to-head with the former Gillingham manager for a job back in the summer of 2007.

“Andy does a good job wherever he goes and he actually edged me out of one a few years ago,” said Edwards.

“Me both went for the Dover Athletic job in 2007, we were the last two and they eventually gave it to Andy and I went on to manage Dulwich Hamlet.

“He brought them over to us and they’d won something like 18 games, drawn one and were well clear at the top. It finished 2-2 and I said to the Dover chairman, if you’d appointed me you would have won and he laughed.

“But fair play to Andy he did fantastically well at Dover and got them promoted and does a did a decent job wherever he is. He’s helped me out when he has been with Gillingham and Dover and given us players before so hopefully he gets the Orient job.

“If he does then hopefully something similar can happen again and these games are about building bridges between club and we really appreciated Orient sending a team to us.”

The friendly also brings back fond memories for Edwards of when he used to watch the O’s at Brisbane Road.

Although he was an Arsenal fan, he would turn up at E10 regularly to watch his ‘second team’ every other Saturday.

Edwards added: “We are really looking forward to it and hopefully it will be a good game and everybody enjoys it.

“When I was growing up Orient were everybody’s second team. I was from Bethnal Green and an Arsenal fan.

“But when Arsenal were away, I’d go to Orient and I have some great memories from going to Brisbane Road.

“I remember when they played Chelsea in the 1972 FA Cup and I got crushed a bit in the crowd, but it was an unbelievable atmosphere when they come from two down to win 3-2.

“Then the following round they got Arsenal and Alan Ball in his white boots scored the winner – great memories.”

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