Hess finds himself in ‘difficult position’

PUBLISHED: 17:30 21 April 2016

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler watches on (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler watches on (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

O’s caretaker discusses seeing Kevin Nolan and Ian Hendon lose their managerial jobs and Lee Harrison’s departure

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler admits he finds himself in a strange situation, but has to remain professional until the end of the season.

The 50-year-old has been taking charge of the first team in the interim since Kevin Nolan was relieved of his managerial duties on April 12.

Goalkeeper coach Lee Harrison had his contract terminated with immediate effect the following day with Rob Gagliardi taking over.

It leaves former Gillingham boss Hessenthaler to pick up the pieces, alongside Andy Edwards, but they were disappointed on Tuesday as Plymouth Argyle made the trip to Brisbane Road and went away with all three points.

Jake Jervis scored twice after Peter Hartley’s opener and Lloyd James’ 83rd-minute penalty was a mere consolation in a 3-1 loss.

Hessenthaler admitted recent decisions by the club hierarchy have left some of the O’s players confused, saying: “I think there is a little bit of bewilderment amongst the players and you can understand that – it isn’t easy.

“We lost a good guy in terms of Kevin Nolan and we lost a good guy in terms of Ian Hendon, who brought me to the club, before that. The owner decided to make those changes and what will be beyond these next three games, I honestly don’t know.”

It has been extremely difficult for Hessenthaler at times, having to face questions about the future of the club when he isn’t the man to answer them, as well as seeing Harrison depart last week.

Hendon left as head coach in January, but despite being the caretaker right now, Hessenthaler isn’t thinking about potentially taking the job on permanently in the summer.

Hessenthaler added: “We will see what happens next season, I’m just concentrating on the next three games and we’ll see what the owner comes up with.

“It is tough, I’ve found it really difficult, I’ve got to be honest. If I didn’t say that I’d be lying. It is a strange situation, but that is the owner’s prerogative.

“He is the owner and that’s the decisions he decided to make. We are employed by him and we have to get on with our jobs.”

After Tuesday’s defeat at home to Plymouth, Orient are five points off the play-off positions with only three matches remaining.

They travel to Wimbledon this weekend with the south Londoners in seventh place. A win for the Dons would ensure O’s can no longer reach the play-offs, so it should prove to be a crucial afternoon on Saturday.

If Orient are to pick up all three points at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, they will need to defend better than they have lately.

Although Harrison was only officially goalkeeper coach at Brisbane Road, one of his other jobs was to help put on training sessions for all of the defenders during the week.

Unfortunately he has now left and his absence has shown with the mistakes made in the last two games, but Hessenthaler believes he will be back in football soon.

He added: “I played with Lee at Barnet so we are good friends and always will be. Again it was a sad and tough day to see him go.

“It was a decision made and Lee knows it is football. We will keep in contact and I spoke to him on Friday, he was right behind the boys on Saturday and hope we got the result.

“There is no bitterness from him. He’s a top coach, he has been around. He’s been at West Ham, came to Orient from them, and he’ll have no problems getting back into football.”

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