Rollercoaster ride for the O’s
ORIENT launch their League One campaign at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, in what promises to be a rollercoaster ride of a season, writes TREVOR DAVIES. The bookies have already written off Geraint Williams team, as they are listed down with the also-rans o
ORIENT launch their League One campaign at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, in what promises to be a rollercoaster ride of a season, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
The bookies have already written off Geraint Williams' team, as they are listed down with the also-rans of League One.
But, although the O's squad looks distinctly threadbare, Williams has made some astute summer signings.
Ben Chorley, a no-nonsense defender has arrived from Tranmere, and if O's can hold on to Tamika Mkandawire, then the duo should make up one of the best central defensive pairings in the division.
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With skipper Stephen Purches at right back, the O's have an experienced thread running across the rearguard, and with Jamie Jones emerging as a young goalkeeper with huge potential, the defence has a solid look about it.
The capture of James Scowcroft, Scott McGleish and Adrian Patulea should give Orient more of a cutting edge up front.
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Goals were a problem during the first half of last season, but Scowcroft arrives from Palace with an impressive CV and both he and McGleish have experience, while Patulea provides youthful exuberance.
The signing of Jimmy Smith is another impressive capture and it gives the midfield area a solid look, although he did seem more at home in the centre of midfield when he was at the club on loan last season.
With Sean Thornton and Adam Chambers also favouring a central role, and Jason Demetriou capable of playing in there, the concern for Williams is a lack of natural width.
There is no doubt that Orient's best starting XI will be able to match most of the sides in League One, even the top performers. But with little money left in the budget, the problems will occur if injuries and suspensions bite.
At the moment, Charlie Daniels is the solitary left back in the squad and rookie defender Luke Ashworth provides the only cover at the heart of the defence.
Even so, the squad Williams has assembled should be capable of living in the middle third of the League One table and, with the rub of the green on the injury front, Orient should improve on last season's 14th-place finish and could even flirt with the play-offs.
But, for that to happen, Williams will once again have to be a wizard in the loan market. Last season, Jordan Spence, McGleish, Simon Church and Smith played pivotal roles in helping the O's beat the drop.
However, perhaps the most important man of all at Brisbane Road will be physio Lewis Manning. If he can patch the players up and keep them fit, then the O's might just surprise a few people.
Recorder prediction: 11th place.