Leyton Orient boss Andy Edwards wants squad to embrace Portsmouth challenge

Leyton Orient captain Robbie Weir congratulates Jay Simpson on his goal against Accrington Stanley w

Leyton Orient captain Robbie Weir congratulates Jay Simpson on his goal against Accrington Stanley with Sandro Semedo behind the pair (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Brisbane Road club travel to south coast following a poor start to 2017, but have Sammy Moore available again

Andy Edwards has called on his Leyton Orient players to embrace the challenge of taking on promotion hopefuls Portsmouth in League Two this weekend.

The O’s make the trip to Fratton Park only four points above the relegation zone after starting 2017 with consecutive defeats.

Pompey beat Orient 1-0 on October 8 at Brisbane Road, but haven’t always fared so well on their own turf this season.

Edwards said: “Portsmouth are a very good side with a strong goal difference and we keep finding ourselves coming up against form teams.

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“I know their home record has not been fantastic, but I’ve looked at four or five of their games and their performances haven’t reflected the scoreline at times.

“You look at the individuals they have, the strength in depth, the size of their squad and their support and we know it is a big challenge, but it is one we all have to enjoy and embrace.”

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Orient will be boosted by the return of experienced midfielder Sammy Moore for the trip to the south coast.

It was originally believed the ex-AFC Wimbledon favourite would be unavailable due to his loan at Dover Athletic not expiring until Saturday.

But O’s were able to reach an agreement with the National League club, which resulted in Moore returning a few days early.

“I believe Sammy is available for this weekend, so it is good to have him back and it is obvious we need bodies,” said Edwards.

“We need experience because we have a lot of youth team players that are training with us and have a part to play.

“Individually they have a role to play, but collectively it is too big an ask for where they are in their development.

“It is good to have Sammy here and obviously we have Michael Collins, but his contract runs out in two weeks, so Sammy is one of three senior midfielders we have fit at the club now.”

Although Orient’s academy players have impressed since coming into the first-team, the east Londoners are desperate for more experience.

Earlier this week Southend United captain Adam Barrett was linked with a switch to Brisbane Road having failed to play for the Blues since November.

The 37-year-old played with Edwards at Roots Hall for a couple of seasons and started his career at O’s before returning on-loan in 2011.

Edwards added: “I’d love to bring in somebody like Adam. He has got experience and is a leader and great character.

“He has got on a bit in years, but I think he started 16 games for Southend this season so I’d love to bring him in or somebody like him, but it can’t be done.”

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