Leyton Orient boss Andy Edwards: Morecambe match is huge

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 January 2017

Leyton Orient manager Andy Edwards and assistant Danny Webb urge their players on at Portsmouth (pic Simon O'Connor)

Leyton Orient manager Andy Edwards and assistant Danny Webb urge their players on at Portsmouth (pic Simon O'Connor)

Simon O'Connor Photography

The O’s manager discusses Saturday’s pivotal fixture in the battle to survive in League Two

Leyton Orient are preparing for a crucial League Two fixture at home to Morecambe on Saturday without several experienced players after yet another tumultuous week at Brisbane Road.

Instead of seeking to recruit bodies to boost the O’s prospects of survival, president Francesco Becchetti has bizarrely decided to put members of the squad up for sale.

It was revealed on Tuesday morning that the O’s had made Alex Cisak, Callum Kennedy, Tom Parkes and Jordan Bowery available for transfer.

Bowery has already completed a loan move to Crewe Alexandra while Alan Dunne left my mutual consent on Wednesday afternoon.

The timing of the latest development is certainly far from ideal as Orient prepare to face a Morecambe side who lie six points ahead of them in 17th position.

“We are at the wrong end of the table and it is three defeats on the bounce so we need a reaction and response,” said Edwards after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth. “We will be looking for that against Morecambe.

“It will be a tough game and it’s a huge one. We were excellent against Crawley Town and ground out a result against Accrington Stanley at home, so when we play teams around us these are the matches which are doubly important.”

Edwards sprung a surprise last weekend by using a 3-5-2 formation with Myles Judd and Sandro Semedo playing as wing-backs.

It was an interesting move by the O’s boss and worked at times, but mistakes cost them again on Saturday. Conor Chaplin was twice left unmarked at Fratton Park and the end result was a 2-1 defeat for Orient.

There were positive signs, however, and the 3-5-2 formation provides O’s with an alternative tactic in the coming months.

“You try to find different ways to give you an edge, but the principles stay the same of how we try to play with and without the ball,” said Edwards.

“We do a lot of work on it and the players know their jobs and the lapse, for whatever reason, are costing us.”

Ironically, Edwards spoke about the importance of not harming the development of Orient’s academy members after Saturday’s loss.

The 45-year-old stressed the need not to rely too much on the youth players while O’s battle to avoid relegation.

But Becchetti’s decision this week to transfer list several experienced members leaves the ex-Southend United defender with no choice now.

Edwards, speaking at Portsmouth, added: “This experience will stand them in good stead for the future, but again you have got to be careful because you can break them as well as make them better players.

“Myles is growing in stature, but if it is too much it can be a setback. In 18 months to around two years the club will have a lot of good young players who will be the bedrock of the side.

“At the moment we have to be careful and ultimately make sure we stay in this division. We are not a nursery. We are a football club that wants to be playing in the Football League next year.”

The comments from Edwards have greater significance now after a damaging week at the east London club, but while he remains in charge, they have a fighting chance of avoiding relegation.

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