LEYTON ORIENT MTO.
Following the signing of Dynel Simeu and Paul Glatzel on a season long loan on Transfer Deadline Day, Micky Mellon’s Tranmere are back in action on Saturday afternoon as they travel south to Brisbane Road where they will face Leyton Orient.
Richie Wellens Orient have started this campaign in exceptional fashion and are currently top of the League Two table whereas The Whites continue to struggle on the road. Tranmere’s last away win in ninety minutes did come in this fixture last May though, giving some cause for optimism.
O’s fan, Mat Roper, spoke to me about how Wellens’ side have started this season and much more!
Last season, Leyton Orient finished 13th in League Two as Aaron Drinan finished top goalscorer in all competitions with 16 goals. How do you reflect on the campaign as a whole?
It was hugely frustrating even for us! Started really consistently under Kenny Jackett but then a combination of covid and injuries (along with our manager seemingly “losing the plot”) saw us dip dramatically. Richie Wellens came in, steadied the ship & we finished like a train!
This summer, The O’s have signed four players on permanent deals as a further two have been brought in on loan. One of the players to go the other way is former Tranmere man Otis Khan. How happy are you with the club’s business and what are your thoughts on Khan during his time at Brisbane Road?
Otis tried really hard but a combination of not playing in the right position and not quite reaching the heights he was probably capable of did for him.
Like most clubs you could always say you want more, but on the whole we haven’t done too bad. We have bought in two players of real quality, kept the players we wanted (that was just as important) and added some hopefully flourishing younger talent. Overall, I would score a very solid 8/10.
The former Salford and Doncaster gaffer Richie Wellens was appointed by Orient in March. Is the future bright with him at the club and how would you describe his playing style?
I go by the thoughts of others. Swindon fans raved about him and that combined with a promotion and PJT win is good enough for me.
Wellens likes to play a high pressing high tempo game built on expansive football.
The biggest thing I believe is he is forward thinking and infectiously positive as well as seemingly never wanting to settle for second best.
Nigel Travis is the Chairman of The O’s, what are your thoughts on him and the way that the club is run?
Like the transfer business, you could always do more, but on the whole we are in safe hands. The reputation of the club has been restored since the disaster of 2014-17, we have our EFL place back and are hopefully pressing for a second promotion in 6 years.
Who would you say are your side’s key players and where will the key battles be played on Saturday afternoon? Touching on the strengths that your team has, where do you believe Wellens’ side will finish come May?
Our new CDM Idris El Mizouni from Ipswich is key. He has bundles of quality on the ball & could well be the difference Saturday.
If we keep a clean sheet then I would say it would take a very brave man not to back us to win. Tranmere, for my money, are always a threat but you haven’t started too well so it might be a great time to play one of the fancied sides and at home.
Even before a ball was kicked, I fancied the top seven. Yes, there is a massively long way to go but based on just 540 minutes there is no reason not to think we couldn’t dream higher!
How do you see the upcoming game panning out? What is your score prediction? The last time the two teams encountered each other was at Brisbane Road in May and Kane Hemmings struck the winner for Rovers.
It likely depends on how you guys approach the game. Do you come to stifle the O’s or try and win the game? I can see it being tight for 45 but fingers crossed we find a breakthrough & allow for an open game. I can see LOFC winning 2-0 or 2-1.
If you have been keeping up with The Whites this summer, what are your thoughts on the business that they’ve done and how do you think they’ll do this campaign?
As I said, IMO, Tranmere are a threat at this level. They are a “bigger” club along with your Swindon’s, Doncaster’s and Bradford’s. That brings pressure though and it is obviously a bit of an indifferent start.
It would appear there was a really high turnover in and out and that they have tried to add experience and raw talent. That can be exciting but is it a case of it may take time to gel? Could easily see a scenario whereby Tranmere hang around mid table then if all the parts cluck they make a decent run in the second half of the season and gain a play off finish.
Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road.