Craig Clay confident Leyton Orient will give National League rivals lots of problems during season!

George Elokobi (right) drags Leyton Orient goalscorer Craig Clay over to the South Stand to celebrat

George Elokobi (right) drags Leyton Orient goalscorer Craig Clay over to the South Stand to celebrate (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Combative midfielder knows how tough non-league’s top flight is, but believes squad can handle different challenges

Leyton Orient players embrace Craig Clay after his late leveller against Eastleigh (pic: Simon O'Con

Leyton Orient players embrace Craig Clay after his late leveller against Eastleigh (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Craig Clay is pleased with Leyton Orient’s start to the season, but does feel more is to come from Steve Davis’ new-look group.

It has been a whirlwind couple of months at Brisbane Road, but with August drawing to a close O’s can reflect on an encouraging start to the new campaign.

Orient are third in the National League table after seven games and arguably haven’t performed anywhere near their best, which should only be a good thing moving forward.

Clay said: “It is early doors and we have only been working together for two months and some people came in late.


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“I have only been here a month and a half, so we are all still gelling and getting to know things about each others game.

“Only in time do you work out whether a player wants it in behind or to feet, so once we have got that I think we will be miles better, but it is not the worst start so far.”

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The general consensus at the beginning of a new season is the table starts to take shape after 10 games and Orient are getting closer to that mark.

Before the 2017/18 campaign got underway, the likes of Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool United were expected to be challenging near the top.

Right now those two clubs are in the bottom half of the table, but in time it is expected they will regroup and be fighting for honours come the business end of the season.

Clay is no stranger to National League football having played for Grimsby Town in the division, in addition to short spells with Halifax Town, Alfreton Town and Barrow in the top flight of non-league football.

The 25-year-old knows what to expect and feels the way Orient want to play under boss Steve Davis will cause rivals plenty of problems.

“I think there are five or six clubs at this level who could go into the Football League and do well. It has been proven in the past that it is possible to go up from this division and more than hold your own in League Two,” said Clay.

“You do come up against a lot of different challenges in the National League like big lumps who will just get into you and teams that want to pump it.

“The way we are playing we want to try and play some football and do it the right way and I think a lot of sides will struggle to handle that.”

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