Steve Davis and Leyton Orient excited for National League opener at Sutton United
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
The O’s will take a step into the unknown this weekend, but have prepared as best they can for their clash at Gander Green Lane
Leyton Orient head coach Steve Davis is keen for his team to build some early momentum this month, but is well aware of how tough the National League is.
The O’s get the new campaign underway on Saturday and their away clash at Sutton United is live on the BT Sport cameras as well (12.30pm kick-off).
Orient then host Solihull Moors on Tuesday (August 8) and overall, they play seven games in the National League this month.
It is an action-packed start for the east Londoners, but after a busy summer, they are very close to being ready.
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“You want to try and build momentum as quick as you can, but it is not the end of the world if it doesn’t go as we would like,” said Davis.
“The quicker we can get points on the board the better it is for everybody because it settles people down and you gain confidence from it, but we are aware of how difficult it will be.
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“I still think we are a little bit behind, but we have prepared as best we can and the character of the players will carry us through certain incidents in the games.
“We have a lot of character in the dressing room and I know my strongest team and when we are at full-strength I know we can compete with anyone.”
Davis was pleased with what he saw despite the O’s losing 5-1 to Arsenal’s under-23s on Tuesday night.
Macauley Bonne netted a late consolation for Orient, but goals from Krystian Bielik, Chuba Akpom, Stephy Mavididi, Carl Jenkinson and Eddie Nketiah gave the north Londoners an emphatic victory.
Davis felt it was a worthwhile exercise after giving 45 minutes to 22 of his players in front of a 2,006 crowd at Brisbane Road.
He added: “During the close season we have worked very hard and we have a lot of games in August.
“It is unlikely that the opening team for Sutton will end the month because of the amount of games we play in that period, so that was the reason behind the side against Arsenal.
“We will need everyone and we will have to make changes, so it will depend on how the younger lads perform in those games, but we are all excited about what is to come and all hoping for good things.”
One challenge Orient’s players will face on Saturday is playing on a 3G pitch during a competitive game.
Davis saw his team deal with Harlow Town’s artificial surface without any problems on July 15, but that was only a pre-season friendly.
But after training on the surface this week, Orient should be more accustomed to playing on a 3G pitch.
“With Sutton’s surface it is going to be a little bit different to what we have played on, but we played on Harlow’s pitch, which was very similar, so that was a good first game to get used to it,” said Davis.
“We are looking forward to it and the players have worked extremely hard in a short space of time.
“They want to do their best and get to a certain level of fitness, but the performances are important in pre-season because they want to get into that starting XI. Sutton will be a good test for us and a good game.”