Hendon: Orient will have the right blend

Leyton Orient players being put through their paces during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient players being put through their paces during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Brisbane Road boss discusses how he wants his team to play and what some of the new signings will bring

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon watches on during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon watches on during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon is aiming to make the team more dynamic this year and believes that will play a big part in ensuring they are successful.

Hendon, 43, has been working hard since it was confirmed on May 28 that the Ilford-born boss would become the man in charge at Brisbane Road.

He has added numerous people to his backroom staff in the shape of Lee Harrison as goalkeeper coach, Ged Searson as chief scout, Peter Webb as physio and Craig Smith as strength and conditioning coach.

All of them will play a part in helping O’s get back on track this season after the disappointment of last year, which resulted in their relegation to League Two.


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One thing evident towards the end of the last campaign was that O’s were lacking pace across the pitch and they possibly never fully replaced the speedy presence of Moses Odubajo after he joined Brentford.

Hendon is keen to change that, though, and the addition of Blair Turgott will help add more urgency to the Orient team.

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With Sammy Moore and Sean Clohessy also among the new signings at the club, you can certainly see what mix the O’s head coach is trying to get before the season starts on August 8.

“You have got to have a blend of youth and experience,” said Hendon. “From what I have heard about the team last year there wasn’t too many legs in the side.

“We need to be a bit more dynamic in our play and you need players with energy.

“That is most definitely the way football is going at all levels to be honest and is definitely something I look at. The lads have got to be fit. You look anywhere now and they are athletes, not just footballers, but athletes.”

A more dynamic Orient team with a higher tempo across the pitch is certainly required if they are to challenge for the title this season alongside the bookies’ favourites Portsmouth.

Turgott isn’t proven in League Two, but his pace and energy should certainly scare opposition defenders and fellow new signing Paul McCallum has scored goals at this level in the past.

With Dean Cox staying and Lloyd James over his injury troubles, Orient have plenty of quality in other areas too.

Clohessy’s attacking threat from right-back is also expected to play a prominent part in how O’s will line up and what style they will bring to League Two. Last season’s squad lacked youth and energy, but this year’s will not.

“They are good, young players with a lot of potential,” said Hendon when asked about Turgott and McCallum joining the club.

“Paul has played more in this division than Blair and has a good goal record. He had a poor loan spell at Portsmouth towards the end of last season, but I know what he is capable of and I have high hopes for him.

“As for Blair, he gives us energy, legs and is a good lad who is willing to work and again I know exactly what I will get from him.”

Going down the root of bringing in a mixture of youth and experience certainly seems a wise choice.

Hendon and Orient supporters will get the opportunity to see the squad in action this week as they travel to National League side Braintree Town on Friday for their first pre-season game.

Although his squad isn’t complete yet and more additions will come in, the bulk of the team is already in place and now the work will be put in place to make sure O’s start well when they host Barnet on August 8 at Brisbane Road because that will ensure the positive vibe sticks around.

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