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Opposition in Focus: Leyton Orient

As we prepare to compete in The National League for the first time in our history, we take a look at some of the opponents we will be travelling to and welcoming to The CNG Stadium, first up... Leyton Orient.

Fact file:
Founded:      1881
Ground:        Brisbane Road
Capacity:       9,271
Manager:      Justin Edinburgh
Chairman:     Nigel Travis
2017/18:       13th

London-based Leyton Orient were relegated from the Football League in 2017 after a 112-year stay, following a disappointing season under five different managers.

Despite a promising season the year before in which they finished just outside the play-off places, The O’s were plagued by off-pitch turmoil involving their previous owner who had taken control of the club from Barry Hearn.

The club’s form in League Two slumped and the club finished ten points adrift at the bottom, resulting in their second relegation in three years under 11 different managers.

The club endured an indifferent start to life in non-league football last season, winning five of their opening eight fixtures before a run of 17 games with just one victory that ultimately cost manager Steve Davis his job.

Former Tottenham defender Justin Edinburgh was brought in to steady the ship at Brisbane Road and guided The O’s to 13th in their first season in the National League.

Leyton Orient was originally formed by old boys of the Glyn Cricket Club in 1881 and initially underwent several name changes including Eagle Cricket Club, Orient Football Club and Clapton Orient.

The Club eventually took the name Leyton Orient in 1987, shortly after Tony Wood became chairman, after supporters of the club campaigned to reinstate ‘Leyton’ into their name.

As they have only played one season outside of the Football League in over a century, Orient are one of many sides Town will be facing for the first time next season.

With a capacity of just under 10,000, The O’s Brisbane Road ground will provide one of the largest venues in the National League again as they look to reclaim their Football League status at the second time of asking.
 
Head Coach – Justin Edinburgh
Justin Edinburgh took charge of Leyton Orient on 29th November 2017 with the club having recorded just one win in their previous 17 games in the National League.

Despite losing his first game away at Solihull Moors, the new Head Coach guided Orient to five consecutive victories throughout December to steer them away from the lingering threat of two consecutive relegations.

The Club finished the season strongly, winning five of their final eight fixtures to finish in 13th place.

Edinburgh spent most of his days as a player with Tottenham Hotspur. Often deployed at left back, he went on to make over 200 appearances for the North London club between 1990-2000 before moving to Portsmouth.

Edinburgh made the move into coaching as player-manager at Billericay Town in 2003, where he spent three years before moving on to roles at Fisher Athletic, Rushden & Diamonds and Newport County.

Despite being dismissed from his previous role at Northampton Town due to a string of poor results, the former defender was offered the job at Orient in late 2017 and enjoyed a successful half-season at the club.
 
Key Players

Macaulay Bonne – Young forward Macaulay Bonne proved an instant hit following his summer move to Orient from Colchester United in the summer of 2017. Pacey and clinical, the striker hit 22 goals in the National League last term to end the season as the club’s top goalscorer. Bonne rose through the ranks at Ipswich Town before making his professional debut for Colchester in 2013, going on to make 84 appearances for the Essex outfit. Capped by Zimbabwe at Under-23 level, Bonne has experience at this level after loan spells at both Lincoln City and Woking.

Craig Clay – Central midfielder Craig Clay joined The O’s on a free transfer from Motherwell in the summer of 2017/18 and was a mainstay of their midfield last season. The Nottingham-born midfielder made 43 appearances for the club in the National League, second only to top goalscorer Macaulay Bonne, and contributed with four goals. Having made appearances for the England C team, Clay’s performances at Forest Green Rovers earned him a move to Scottish Premiership side Motherwell before signing for Orient ahead of their first season in the National League.

Ones to Watch

Josh Koroma – Promising forward Josh Koroma signed his first professional contract with Orient before making his debut in April 2016. Koroma holds the record as the youngest-ever Orient player to score a hat-trick, coming during the O’s emphatic 4-0 win over Newport County in March 2017. At just 19-years-old, he has already showed the potential that earned him a place in the England C team for their recent trip to Ireland. A graduate of the youth system at Brisbane Road, the forward made 31 appearances in the National League last season, scoring four goals.

Sam Ling – Defender Sam Ling re-signed for Orient in February 2018 from Dagenham & Redbridge for an undisclosed fee having progressed through The O’s youth academy. Despite not making a first team appearance for Leyton Orient before his switch to the Daggers in 2016, 21-year-old Ling has impressed since his return to the club and recently started for England C team in their 4-2 defeat to Ireland. Ling signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at Brisbane Road after 29 league appearances last term and is the son of Orient director of football Martin.