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Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Edwards happy with big squad at Brisbane Road

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 July 2016

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Edwards. Pic: SIMON O'CONNOR

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Edwards. Pic: SIMON O'CONNOR

07958 573219 simon.oconnor@virgin.net

East Londoners nearly have two senior players for every position with just over a week to go until new league campaign kicks-off

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Edwards believes they need to have a big squad for the forthcoming League Two campaign.

The O’s will travel to Cheltenham Town on Saturday week to commence the new league season at Whaddon Road.

First is a friendly clash with League One outfit Gillingham at Brisbane Road this weekend.

Orient’s strength in depth was demonstrated last Saturday when Armand Gnanduillet couldn’t get on the pitch against Charlton Athletic.

The French forward took his chance on Tuesday night at Dagenham – scoring in a 2-1 victory – and O’s number two feels they need to have lots of strength in depth.

“At the moment we do have a big squad and we’re trying to get everyone as fit as we can,” said Edwards. “We’re looking at who is doing well, competition for places and we’re excited about certain individuals.

“It is about nailing down that starting XI and getting a real culture and a work ethic about how we set up, train and play. That has been the main focus over the last four or five weeks of pre-season.

“As the campaign pans out, results dictate what happens next, but we’re looking to get off to a good start and I think it is important to have a big squad because the loan system has changed.

“You need to carry a big squad, we have some exciting young players, a big academy so we’ve got real strength in depth throughout the club.”

Orient have promoted several of their academy players into the first team over the last 12 months and most have impressed.

Portuguese Sandro Semedo has really caught the eye during pre-season while Sam Sargeant looks a great prospect.

The pair were given an opportunity towards the end of the 2015/16 campaign and Edwards is delighted to see them and others continue to develop.

He added: “I hope it can be a year where the youngsters shine. It was encouraging towards the end of last season when the likes of Sandro, Sam Sargeant, Aron Pollock got an opportunity.

“Myles Judd got a chance along with one or two others and obviously I have come from an academy background so it is great to see those young players come through.

“Ultimately they’ve got to be good enough, they’ve got to be able to affect results and the performance of the team.”

Semedo has shown his versatility over the past week as he played at left midfielder on Saturday against Charlton.

He was on the bench at Dagenham on Tuesday, but was introduced at left-back and performed strongly at Victoria Road.

Edwards said: “Sandro has come through our academy system and been a player we’ve always been excited about.

“He continues to develop and is a quick learner. He had a serious injury about 18 months ago and it curtailed his progress a little bit.

“The attitude and application he has shown to come back from that and the work he put in the gym and on the training pitch, he is an exciting prospect.

“I’m sure Sandro is in the managers thoughts for Cheltenham. His performances over the five games in pre-season have been exceptional. In training he has been strong so along with a lot of others, he has given us a lot of cause for thought.”

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