Hessenthaler: Orient can handle the Gas

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (left) (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (left) (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Andy Hessenthaler looks ahead to Monday’s fixture, discusses January transfer window and hails Alex Cisak

Leyton Orient goalkeeper Alex Cisak in action earlier this season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient goalkeeper Alex Cisak in action earlier this season (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Leyton Orient assistant boss Andy Hessenthaler is confident his team can continue their unbeaten league run when they visit Bristol Rovers tomorrow (Monday).

The O’s made it six games without defeat in League Two yesterday (Saturday) as they edged a Boxing Day cracker with Portsmouth at Brisbane Road.

Ollie Palmer scored twice with Jay Simpson on target as Pompey had Adam Webster sent off and home skipper Mathieu Baudry also received his marching orders.

Ian Hendon’s men held on for a vital 3-2 victory and travel to take on the Gas hoping to pick up another three points that could see them move back into the play-off positions.


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Hessenthaler said: “If we keep showing that character we can get a win on Monday. Our performance against Portsmouth just shows you the players are right behind the manager and the coaching staff because they worked their socks off.

“That shows people they want to play for him and we have just got to continue now. We’ve lost five in 23 so we haven’t had a bad start.

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“There have been too many draws in that – like we’ve said – but if we can go to Bristol now and get another win that will be so far so good over the Christmas period.”

Goalkeeper Alex Cisak and two-goal hero Palmer were among the star performers for the O’s against Pompey.

The Australian stopper made a series of remarkable saves to eventually earn Hendon’s side the three points - their first victory since November 21.

Hessenthaler praised the 26-year-old after the match at Brisbane Road and backed him to get even better.

“Alex was outstanding and there were a few outstanding performances against Portsmouth, but Alex was the stand-out along with Ollie I felt,” added the O’s number two.

“He is there to make the saves he made, but he is a good character. There is stuff he needs to work on and I think that will come.

“Alex is a good presence in there, but he needs to be louder and he knows that. We talk to him about that every day, but he was tremendous against Portsmouth.

“It is not easy when you chop and change your back four in front of him. It is hard to get that settled team and combination, but fair play to him on Saturday.”

Hessenthaler also revealed Orient will look to sign two or three players during the January transfer window.

Talk continues to surround the future of League Two’s top goalscorer Simpson, but the O’s are confident he will remain at the club.

“Hopefully come January we might be able to add two or three players to the squad, but it is difficult when you do chop and change,” said Hessenthaler.

“If you try and get that settled side and get on a decent run it certainly helps, but we haven’t been able to do that.

“Teams go through that and we have to get on with it, but like I say hopefully we can fresh it up in January and it will kick us on for the second half of the season.”

Orient will have to make changes to the team tomorrow with Baudry unavailable as he starts his three-match ban.

Connor Essam returned from injury against Portsmouth and after a shaky start impressed at Brisbane Road.

He should keep his starting place for the clash against the Gas at the Memorial Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

“Connor was terrific. He had 45 minutes at Bishop’s Stortford midweek in tricky conditions, but came through and I am pleased he is back,” added Hessenthaler.

“It took him a little bit of time to get going. It gives us another option as well.”

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