Embleton happy with Orient’s Football League experience
PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 July 2019
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The O’s are back in League Two for the first time since May 2017 but nothing should come as too much of a surprise for them
Leyton Orient interim head coach Ross Embleton believes his squad have the knowhow to not come unstuck in a new division this season.
The National League has been home for the last two campaigns, but a large number of the O's squad have played in the Football League before and very recently.
In terms of expected starters, Dean Brill was part of Colchester United's team during the 2016/17 season albeit on the bench while Dan Happe and Josh Coulson featured in League Two in that very term, with Orient and Cambridge United respectively.
Joe Widdowson has spent the majority of his career in the Football League, although Sam Ling and Marvin Ekpiteta will make their debuts in the division on Saturday.
Further forward, Josh Wright played in League One at Bradford City before his return to E10 and James Brophy and Craig Clay are no strangers to the level, even if the latter has much more experience in the National League.
In attack, Lee Angol scored goals in League Two a couple of seasons ago, but fellow new boy Conor Wilkinson has limited experience in this division.
When fit, Jobi McAnuff and James Dayton will stake claims to be in the starting XI and they were both at this level during the 2016/17 term, so it shows Orient are not sure of knowhow in the Football League.
How much this counts for is hard to tell right now, but it adds to the feeling at Brisbane Road that O's can make their mark this season.
"I think there is an element of knowhow in the group whether it's actually League Two or League One experience, I definitely feel we have plenty of that," Embleton said.
"And hopefully the excitement and energy we create here at home and being back in the division, we can turn games onto our terms.
"Everyone at the club is excited, but also ready to embrace the challenge and stand up and make their mark.
"Pre-match in every friendly we have played we've constantly said 'go make your mark and be the best player you can be' and at the same time that gives us an opportunity as a group and a team to impose ourselves on the opposition."
What will be nice for Embleton and his staff is the prospect of naming seven players on the bench every week again.
During Orient's time in the National League, they could only pick five substitutes and so it made squad selection on a matchday extremely tough.
It won't necessarily make life much easier for Embleton, but he is pleased it will open up more opportunities to the group and hinted some of the performances by players off the bench against a Norwich City XI could see them start at home to Cheltenham Town.
He added: "Being in the National League last season and the year before, having only five subs was something quite difficult for us to deal with.
"It meant we had to be very selective and especially when we went away, you travel with two extra bodies who will sit in the stand.
"We still have that this year, but picking seven subs makes the opportunity within the group more realistic and there are more options to pick from.
"Last season and this summer whenever changes have been made, I think people have come in and grabbed their opportunity.
"One or two have done it against Norwich. We changed Jordan (Maguire-Drew) and Brophy over and Brophy had an impact on the game and I thought James (Alabi) came on and gave us something different to the other boys.
"I think we have definitely got players who can come on and change the games in certain ways for us."
League Two gets underway for Orient on Saturday when Cheltenham, who finished 16th last season, visit the capital for a 3pm kick-off.