Salford City v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Peninsula Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview
A new manager, new players and new optimism. I think it’s fair to say that most Leyton Orient supporters are viewing the forthcoming Sky Bet League Two campaign with an air of confidence.
And that buoyancy is shared by former frontman Peter Kitchen: “It has been a positive pre-season,” he told Yellow Sport.
“Kenny Jacket certainly has the full backing of the Brisbane Road faithful who are happy with the job he has done over the past two months.
“Eleven players were released or moved on, while new deals and recruitment have been impressive as the new boss quietly got on with the business of assembling a squad everyone is expecting to be challenging for promotion.
“Jackett’s work has been carried out in an assured and professional manner, showing already the benefit of the club bringing in an experienced manager who has had previous success elsewhere.”
Kitchen continued: “With the exception of new skipper Darren Pratley, many of the new players had not established themselves as regulars with their former clubs. Most have arrived from higher league teams, providing massive untapped potential. They will have hunger and desire to make their mark at the O’s.
“My only reticence at the moment is knowing where the goals are going to come from as there isn’t a recognised goalscorer amongst the new signings?
“Ruel Sotiriou is still learning his trade, however, we haven’t yet seen new centre forward Harry Smith and some of the recent signings have had limited game time due to International duties, Covid or slight injuries which have delayed their progress in reaching peak fitness, so we know that there is still more to come from the squad once they are all fit and subsequently providing more competition for places.”
Kitchen spoke about the change of attitude he has noticed at the club; “Pre-season is a very crucial period in any season. Kenny will have spent the past couple of months, getting his players physically fit and imposing his own methods and philosophy onto his squad, whilst making them aware of his expectations as he assesses their strengths and weaknesses.
“What is already self-evident is that he has changed the style of play. O’s fans should see a different approach, with football played at a higher tempo and more direct, especially in the final third.
“Whilst warm-up games are viewed as fairly meaningless, Orient has looked more solid at the back and has moved the ball around with greater purpose. In Kemp and Smyth we have footballers who will create chances. Meanwhile, the creditable drawn games with strong Spurs and West Ham teams coupled with an impressive win over League One Gillingham will have given the players confidence that they can take forward into the matches that really matter.”
On Salford City, Kitchen said: “It’s a tough opening fixture against a club with financial and high profile backing, which therefore comes with huge expectations.
“They have become accustomed to success after regular promotions through the non-league pyramid. Their ambition is relentless – Orient can expect a very stern challenge.
“It will be a measure of the O’s progress under Kenny, whilst giving him a first real opportunity to see how his players respond in what will be a very competitive game.
“In the opening league fixtures, it is vitally important for teams to remain in touch with the league’s early pace-setters and I think the O’s will do well if they can at least take a point from this game.”
Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Salford City 1-1 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Salford City 1-2 Leyton Orient