Tam is aiming high

ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire is not concerned by the lack of squad numbers as the east London club complete their second week of pre-season training, writes MATT DINER. The O s only have 16 first-teamers in their current contingent, but with less tha

ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire is not concerned by the lack of squad numbers as the east London club complete their second week of pre-season training, writes MATT DINER.

The O's only have 16 first-teamers in their current contingent, but with less than a month ago until their campaign begins against Bristol Rovers, the Malawian-born centre half is refusing to panic.

"We will have a strong squad come the start of the season, I have no doubt about it," Mkandawire said defiantly.

"At the moment we have got a small squad, but I have no doubt that the manager has it all in hand.


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"There are a lot of players out there and I believe he will bring the right ones in."

One new player the 26-year-old has been impressed with since joining the club a week ago from Tranmere, is new centre-half partner Ben Chorley.

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"I have played against him in the past and he is a commanding centre half and is a great addition to the club," he said.

"I obviously have not played with him in a game yet, but I know he is a very good player and I am very confident we will have a good partnership."

Mkandawire has great belief in Williams' improving side and refused to rule out a push for a top-six finish, if they play to their potential.

"We need a good start that is for sure, but I don't see why we won't finish in the top half of the table and even the play-offs," he said.

"For that to happen though we do need some good quality players to come in and we need some luck with injuries."

Mkandawire, however, holds no fears of the drop this time around and is confident a good pre-season will stand them in good stead.

"It is hard to say what caused the turnaround last year," he said. "When the new management came in we were in a bad situation, but a change of management gives you a kick up the backside.

"The training has been good, it is always going to be hard, but we have been doing a lot of ball work which makes it more interesting than just running.

"We have been using a VO2 max test, which I can tell you is very hard work.

"You have to perform to your best, there is no escape from it.

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