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Widdowson talks up focus of O’s squad during title quest

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 May 2019

Leyton Orient players, management and staff celebrate winning the National League (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient players, management and staff celebrate winning the National League (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The former West Ham United defender is looking forward to finishing the season with a trip to Wembley for the FA Trophy final

Joe Widdowson is one of several Leyton Orient players who could be a free agent come June 30, but he says everyone at the club has only been focused on winning the title.

In addition to the consistent left-back, Charlie Lee, Alex Lawless, Craig Clay, Jobi McAnuff, James Dayton and Matt Harrold will see their deals expire this summer.

All of them joined the O's ahead of the 2017/18 campaign and even though some have featured more than others, they all played a part in this wonderful title triumph.

Orient's pursuit of the National League was a proper squad effort and now the club is gearing up for League Two football come August.

Some of those aforementioned players may not be part of Justin Edinburgh's squad for next term, but their motivation levels never dropped with the end in sight.

Widdowson said: “I am hopeful I'll be part of the team in League Two, but to be honest it has just been an amazing effort.

“There are a lot of players out of contract, but that was put to one side and everyone was thoroughly focused on promotion.

“Myself and a few others who are not too sure about next season, we have not even worried about it because we have been pursuing this ambition, to be promoted.

“It is credit to everyone in the squad no matter what the contract situation, we have all been pulling together in the same direction and we have done it.”

Orient have and Widdowson at left-back has been a key member of Edinburgh's team and should be rewarded with another deal for the 2019/20 campaign.

There is also an argument for Harrold, Lee and Dayton to put pen to paper on new terms while it seems only a matter of time before the club confirm McAnuff and Clay will be in E10 again next season.

Lawless, despite being a reliable part of the squad, looks set to bid farewell to O's alongside Charlie Grainger, who hasn't played for the first-team since November 2017.

Conversations will need to be had with Jay Simpson and Jamie Turley too, after both joined midway through the campaign and had an impact, especially the latter.

Yet the season is not quite over with one last game to play and a big one – the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium on May 19.

It may act as a chance for some players to wave farewell to Orient and their loyal fans, but hopefully Widdowson will not be one of them.

He concluded: “The FA Trophy final will be a great day at Wembley and hopefully we can put the icing on the cake.

“We have done what we needed to do. The objective is complete and this will be a nice bonus day and be a great day out for the fans.

“It will also be nice for us, the players, to play at Wembley and hopefully win a cup because doing the double will be even better.”

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