What a difference a year can make. In May last year Russell Slade’s side reached the League One play-off final at Wembley, but were dumped out thanks to an outrageous Alex Revell volley. Entering the new season, there was speculation that Cardiff were chasing their highly acclaimed manager. These rumours were confirmed when Slade was appointed Bluebirds manager on the 6th October. So the managerial merry go round began, Italians Fabio Liverani and Mauro Milanese came and went, and in May this year, after Orients relegation disaster, former player Ian Hendon would be made the top man at Brisbane Road.
An abundance of players have headed for the exit doors over the summer. For now, Orient look extremely light in the forward department. David Mooney, Kevin Lisbie and Darius Henderson have all left the club, while Ollie palmer has joined from Mansfield. Former Hammers coach Hendon, has brought in another familiar name to accompany him on his journey, striker Paul McCallum who he worked closely with in his time at Upton Park. The 21-year-old made 8 League Two appearances for Portsmouth last season but to bulge the net during this time. Under Hendon he will hope to relight his career after failing to break into the Premier League clubs first team.
The O’s rearguard will also have to be bolstered if they are to bounce back at the first time of asking. They will have to do so without Romain Vincelot who was highly influential in their fantastic 2013/14 season. He had joined Coventry City, while fellow Frenchman Mathieu Baudry opted to stick with the club for a shot at League Two. Skipper Nathan Clarke is almost irreplaceable, the former O’s captain left earlier today due to personal issues, his authoritarian nature and never say die attitude will be missed at Brisbane Road.
Let’s stop looking at the disappointing departures and focus on what they do have, experienced Jamaican international Jobi MacAnuff has opted to stay, fans will breath a sigh of relief that Dean Cox has again rejected the advances from Peterborough. The tricky winger will be in his 6th season with the London club, but it is a surprise to me that the 27-year-old has stooped to forth tier level, after all he undoubtedly has the ability to play in either the third of even second tier.
In all honestly I can’t see Leyton Orient producing the fireworks of two years ago. The departures of several key players are going to hold them back. Nathan Clark glued them together at the back over the past few years, and they will unquestionably miss him, Sean Clohessy has the defensive qualities to replace him to some extend but I feel the leadership will still be missing. Other than Jay Simpson, Hendon has no natural goal scorer, McCallum and Palmer both have the potential, but unless they blossom earlier than usual Orient really could struggle this season.