Orient get ready for Hendon’s first game

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 July 2015

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon and his new assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (right) look on during pre-season training (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon and his new assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (right) look on during pre-season training (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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The O’s prepare to face Braintree Town in what will be head coach Ian Hendon’s first game in charge of the club

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon watches on during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon watches on during pre-season (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient kick off their pre-season with a friendly fixture against National League Braintree Town tomorrow (Friday) and head coach Ian Hendon has revealed his plan for the clash.

The Brisbane Road boss is going to give all members of his squad an opportunity to impress at the Amlin Stadium against the Iron.

For away supporters making the trip into Essex, it will be a chance to see new players in action and Hendon in charge of the team for the first time since taking over.

And with the new League Two campaign starting in just under a month, excitement is increasing.

“I am looking forward to seeing the lads in action at Braintree,” said Hendon.

“We are only just starting pre-season, but this week we have shaped up and did a little bit more technical stuff and worked on how we are going to play.

“But to be honest we will go to Braintree and take 22 players and give them a half each.”

That is a common tactic for managers to use in pre-season, especially their first fixture.

It means Ollie Palmer, who officially joined the O’s on Monday after training with the club last week, will represent Orient for the first time since signing for an undisclosed fee from Mansfield.

The 23-year-old has signed a two-year contract and could partner fellow summer arrival Paul McCallum up front.

Somebody who will not be an option for Orient anymore is Darius Henderson after the club confirmed earlier this week that the experienced forward has left Brisbane Road, despite having two years left on his contract.

A club statement read: “Leyton Orient wishes to announce that striker Darius Henderson has left the club to pursue other opportunities. We wish him the best of luck and thank him for his efforts last season.”

Henderson scored eight times last year, but spent a large chunk of the campaign injured and at times when he was available his effort appeared to be lacking.

Factor in his wages and it seems the right move for all parties involved to allow the forward to depart and the 33-year-old is the 14th player to leave this summer after David Mooney joined rivals Southend United last week and Romain Vincelot signed for Coventry City yesterday.

But with five new additions and a much younger feel about the Orient squad, all the signs point towards a positive future.

Fans shouldn’t expect to see the new O’s squad click immediately, however, and Hendon has admitted pre-season results do not mean a great deal to him.

His focus is to make sure his squad of players are ready for the League Two opener on August 8 against former club Barnet.

“I won’t be reading too much into the Braintree result, but the work we are doing on the training ground will be to get the players right for the Barnet fixture,” added Hendon.

“Results and performances in pre-season don’t really mean anything as such, but obviously I am the same as anybody else. I would like to see us winning games because that will spread through the group from the off and confidence comes from that.

“But the important thing for me is the first game of the season.”

Although the result at Braintree might not be important, it will be an opportunity for the Orient squad to try and show Hendon for the first time what they can do in a match scenario.

Trialists involved will be working hard to show why they deserve a contract and new signings will be eager to impress supporters.

Finally the football is back!

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