Liam Kelly’s keen to play attractive style at Leyton Orient and win trophies with League Two club
PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 August 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 11 August 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Former Oldham Athletic captain believes O’s need to start achieving now and he’s determined to play a big role
Liam Kelly wants Leyton Orient to make Brisbane Road a fortress this year and believes playing an attractive brand of football can get them success.
The 26-year-old joined the O’s from League One side Oldham Athletic this summer for an undisclosed fee.
Although Kelly was captain at the Latics, the lure of trying to win silverware with the east Londoners was enough to convince him to drop down a division and move south.
Northampton Town, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers earned automatic promotion from League Two last season and all three could be said to play an eye-catching brand of football.
“I’ve played at Brisbane Road once before with Oldham and I thought the playing surface was really good – that is something that will be big for us this year,” said Kelly.
“A lot of teams in League Two are sometimes direct and when you play on poor pitches, especially when you come into the winter months, it can make the games even harder. If our playing surface stays how it is, then it will be a big benefit to us.
“You have got to try and win every game, but if you get into a good rhythm at home and you have a decent style of play, it can be intimidating for teams.
“I also think if you look at sides that have got promoted recently from League One and Two, more often than not they are the sides that like to play football.
“We have the squad of players to do that this season and I’d like to see us playing good football. If we get that right and play to our strengths then it will put us in great stead.”
There is no doubt Brisbane Road is among the best stadiums in League Two and it is one of the many reasons Kelly has moved down to east London.
Another key motivation for the former Kilmarnock midfielder, who has been capped by Scotland once, is the desire to add more trophies to his CV.
Kelly won the Scottish League Cup in 2012 with Killie, but it wasn’t a triumph he could celebrate as his father sadly suffered a heart attack and passed away on the same day.
After four years without any more silverware, the ex-Bristol City midfielder is determined to end that run this season.
“I definitely believe I can help the club achieve things and we have to start achieving – first and foremost by getting out of this league,” said Kelly.
“If we don’t get promotion then we’ve underachieved and not done what we need to do this season. You come into football to win things, you don’t want to be fighting relegation or sitting at a mid-table team.
“I want to try and win trophies and achieve and that was part of the lure of coming here. The club does have the squad to do that and the resources to try and achieve success as well.”
The ex-Oldham captain was linked with a move to Barnsley during the January transfer window, but decided to stay at Boundary Park.
Although he had other offers in the summer, before completing a switch to Orient, he didn’t need much persuading from manager Andy Hessenthaler.
“I did have other offers, but I wouldn’t like to say who they were,” said Kelly. “Orient was a good opportunity for me to join a team that wanted to achieve something. It is moving in the right direction and location wise it suits me.
“Andy didn’t really need to sell it to me. If you look at the size of the club – I don’t think they should be in this division.
“They are probably one of the biggest teams in League Two and the target is to get out of this league as quickly as possible and hopefully keep moving forward.”
One thing O’s struggled to get during the 2015/16 campaign was goals from midfield – Dean Cox and Lloyd James netted five each – and Kelly is hoping he can help improve that after scoring six times for Oldham last season.
He added: “The six goals were all from defensive midfield. Here I will have more of a licence to get forward maybe and if I do, I’ll be looking to build on that and improve my tally from last year.”