Orient Youth Team boss Andy Edwards has been delighted with the progress of his Under 18’s side as they close in on the Football League Alliance SE Conference title.
The O’s are close to securing top spot and travel to Aldershot tomorrow who are 11th in the table.
He said: “It’s a good opportunity for us on Saturday and the boys have acquitted themselves well over the course of a season. I think we are there on merit, we’ve been without a number of players for many games this season through lads being involved in the first team or out on loan with senior clubs to aid their development and had we kept them all together, I think we would have wrapped up the league a long time ago. So we’ve shown we’re a strong side this year and it’s probably the best group of players we’ve had since I’ve been at the club.
“It’s a competitive league and ultimately we are judged on bringing players through but we try and get the balance between development and winning so that we can create that mentality with the young players and I think they’ve shown that consistently throughout the season. It’s still going to be tough with two games left as there are other sides in the mix but to win it would be satisfying.
“As I said we’ve had a lot of players missing but that’s a good thing at times as I’d much rather have them sitting on the bench for the first team than with me as I think the experience that they get in our first team dressing room and around that environment is invaluable.
“A really important thing for lads at this age is attitude and in many ways as a coach that comes above ability and everything else. The ones with good attitude are the ones that improve, Moses Odubajo showed that and you can level that at the whole first team squad, there’s some good characters and decent people there.
“I’ve been here four years now and the set-up we have is improving all the time at youth level, we have great personnel with the likes of Richard Thomas as Academy Operations Manager and Ernie Tippett who’s joined us who is a great track record of bringing players through at clubs like Wimbledon and also has experience managing at league level.
“We’d like to develop more players to push and come through, we’re never satisfied with what we are doing, we are always striving to improve.”