Hendon is ready for whatever’s to come

Leyton Orient manager Ian Hendon looks on at Colchester (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Leyton Orient manager Ian Hendon looks on at Colchester (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Brisbane Road boss looks ahead to start of the season and what is to come

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon was pleased his side came through their final pre-season match against Southend United without any serious injuries.

The O’s had a busy weekend with fixtures against Bishop’s Stortford and Southend as they stepped up their preparation for the season opener against Barnet at Brisbane Road on Saturday.

Scott Kashket’s brace alongside goals from Jobi McAnuff and Ollie Palmer earned a 4-2 victory at Stortford on Saturday, before Paul McCallum’s stunning strike earned a 1-0 win over Southend.

Hendon was happy to see his team come through with no fitness concerns, but admits the only thing that matters now is Barnet.

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“It is going to be different on Saturday with the pressure, the crowd and everyone there willing us on and it is how the players handle that now,” said Hendon.

“We have prepared them how we wanted. We have come through with pretty much no injuries, which has been a massive help as we try to get people fit.

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“But the proof is in the pudding as they say, so come Saturday against Barnet we will see.”

Hendon knows what to expect from Martin Allen’s Bees and this weekend’s game will also see the Orient boss walk out at Brisbane Road for the first time as manager.

The fixture will carry added weight because Hendon has a long affiliation with Barnet after captaining them and managing them during a 10-year spell at the club, but the O’s manager is focused on the project in hand.

“We know what is coming, we know Barnet are going to be big, strong and organised,” he added.

“That is what Martin’s teams are like, so we’re going to have to be up for the fight and I am sure we are. We have had some good results in pre-season and kept some clean sheets in the last four games.

“But as I said from day one at Braintree on July 10, results don’t matter in pre-season, all that does is what happens on Saturday.”

Somebody who will not be involved against Barnet is Shane Lowry after recently completing a trial spell with Birmingham City.

The 26-year-old is looking to move away from the club, but has yet to agree a deal elsewhere and the situation is frustrating for Hendon, who added: “I can’t take a chance on Shane in respect of the fact that he can walk out anytime. If a club makes an offer on Monday then he is gone on Tuesday.

“I need to build a squad that is going to be here for the season, I want players that are on board and if he can’t commit to staying with us, he won’t be kicking a ball for Orient.”

Although Lowry’s future remains unresolved, the work Hendon has done this summer in getting rid of certain players and bringing in a mixture of youth and experience has been impressive.

That has helped get Orient fans onside and they are starting to feel optimistic about the season.

A return to League One is what everybody wants and that’s the aim. “Promotion is the target,” added Hendon.

“That should be everybody’s target. How we do it, whether we go straight up or through the play-offs, doesn’t matter – the aim is promotion.

“But as I have said before there are 23 clubs in this league wanting to do it as well. It’s going to be tough, but we have an aim and a goal and promotion is ours.”

After an encouraging pre-season, it all comes down to what happens in the league now and Hendon can’t wait for Saturday.

He added: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge and glad pre-season is over. It is business time now and I can’t wait.”

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