New Leyton Orient boss Omer Riza has problems already ahead of facing old club Cambridge United
PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 April 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Orient will be without Gavin Massey this weekend and Tom Parkes plus the players and staff still haven’t been paid
Leyton Orient manager Omer Riza will be forced to make at least one change to his starting XI at old club Cambridge United this weekend.
The O’s make the short trip up the M11 looking to halt their run of five consecutive defeats in League Two, which has seen them cut adrift at the bottom of the table and now nine points from safety.
But Orient will be without Tom Parkes after he was given a straight red card during last weekend’s 2-0 loss at home to Wycombe Wanderers.
Despite the various problems coming his way, Riza is looking forward to going back to Abbey Stadium having spent some time there during his playing career.
He said: “I am happy to be going back to Cambridge. I was a fans’ favourite during my spell there and I had some good times.
“I am looking forward to it and they are doing well, so it will be an interesting game.”
Riza is Orient’s fifth manager this season after the club confirmed Danny Webb’s resignation last Thursday morning. It was then revealed last Friday that players and staff at Brisbane Road had not been paid their salary.
Club employees were told they would be paid yesterday (Thursday), but learned on Wednesday that they would not receive their wages for a few days.
It is another problem for the 37-year-old Riza, who started the current campaign as manager of the Orient academy side and is now the first-team boss at Brisbane Road.
But there is no time for the ex-Arsenal striker to dwell on his rapid progress, with only six games remaining and O’s in desperate need of points.
Even though the former West Ham United forward has never managed in the Football League before, he has had a stint in charge of a club.
Riza was manager of Ryman North outfit Cheshunt between 2013 and 2014 and believes the experience will stand him in good stead for what is in store at Brisbane Road.
He added: “I’ve done management before in the Ryman North, but it is very different and you are dealing with a lot of people who think they know the game.
“It was embarrassing at Cheshunt, but it was a good experience and I had a lot to deal with like players not always being there.
“We were training part-time, so it was a good learning curve for me and has put me in good stead now.
“I have had a stint at management and this is where I want to be. This is a great opportunity for me at a great club and it is important we try and get the club off its knees.
“If we play football how I want to play then hopefully we get the fans excited and the players excited to play and hopefully we get some results and points.”
Unfortunately for Riza he is going to have to make do without Gavin Massey for the foreseeable future, as the winger has suffered a hamstring injury which will keep him out until at least May.
With Orient’s players still waiting for their monthly wages, there was some speculation about whether they would potentially strike and not play against Cambridge.
But it is understood the squad are set to carry on fulfilling O’s fixtures because they would breach the terms of their contract if they refused to play.
If the players were to strike, they could potentially be fined by the club or sacked and they would then be without a club and income until July.