Andy Edwards tells Leyton Orient squad they will get rewards with hard work ahead of London derby with Barnet
PUBLISHED: 10:30 30 September 2016
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Former O's Academy Director discusses relationship between players and fans after Tuesday's spirited performance
Andy Edwards has told his Leyton Orient players to deliver a similar level of work-rate and desire from Tuesday’s loss to Plymouth Argyle when they visit Barnet on Saturday.
The O’s suffered a third straight loss in League Two after going down 2-0 to the Pilgrims at Brisbane Road, but were given a standing ovation having played 76 minutes with nine men.
While the east Londoners were beaten once again, the players put in a disciplined display against the leaders and with a little bit more luck they might have taken something from the game.
Orient are currently 16th in the table with 11 points to their name and one place ahead of Barnet on goal difference.
Edwards, who remains in interim charge after the departure of Andy Hessenthaler, said: “Barnet will be a tough one. It is a London derby and they are a very capable side and it will be a difficult test for us.
“There is high expectation as we’ve said before, but there is no easy ride in this division. There is investment at other clubs and good players as well as organisation and managers.
“There is no divine right to be top of the table and get promotion. We have to earn it and we have been working hard. We’ll continue to work hard as a club – staff-wise and player-wise – and we need that support behind us.
“If the players continue to show the commitment they showed against Plymouth in every game this season then the fans will be with us and that’s important.”
Although Edwards first game in charge was chaotic and finished with a defeat, he did enjoy the experience.
The 45-year-old was giving instructions to the O’s team throughout and discussed the relationship between the players and fans.
“I did enjoy it. To be down to nine men at such an early stage you know it is an uphill battle and the chances of winning are slim,” said Edwards.
“We had to stay in the game and we defended with endeavour and a real work ethic, but also with intelligence as well and the players can be really proud of their performance.
“I think the supporters really got behind them and that lifted the players. The two go together. The fans want to see that commitment on the pitch and players love a bit of backing.
“It does give them a lift and that extra five or 10 per cent – whatever it gives them - and it is important at any time that you stick together.”
When asked to reflect on O’s inconsistent start to the new campaign, Edwards pulled no punches.
The former Southend United defender knows they’ve underperformed so far, but is confident about the squad they have at the club
Edwards: “The spirit is good. There is a real good group of players here and I said to them on Monday we’ve got the ingredients of a team that can achieve.
“We’ve got the character, the honesty and I think we have the togetherness. We do have seven or eight new players. If you look at that side compared to the team that finished last season or started last season – it is a new team.
“I’m not going to make excuses and say it takes time to gel or it take times for those players to get to know each other. I don’t necessarily think that is the case, but we have a good group and know we have been underachieving.”
After a positive impression in his first game, Edwards will now hope to get his first points on the board this weekend.