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ORIENT manager Russell Slade believes his squad is looking as good as it has done throughout his three-year spell in charge.
Speaking as the players returned to pre-season training this week, Slade admits there is still work to do but is feeling positive ahead of the new 2013-14 campaign and the opening day trip to Carlisle United on August 3.
“I feel as if we’re really trying to build a talented, little group and we’ve able to do that and the proof is in the pudding with the signing of Shaun Batt as well and the likes of Romain Vincelot signing too,” said Slade.
“It’s all really positive, we’ve got a back four in place and we’ve got a little bit more work to do but I think we’re in good shape and we’re looking forward to the start of the season. I think we are in as good a shape as we’ve been since I’ve been here to be honest.”
The O’s boss will be keen to avoid a repeat of the slow start of last season but is confident that the togetherness of the current group of players should get them off to a good start.
“At the start of the last pre-season we were searching for the right combinations and shapes and that’s a process you have to go through sometimes in pre-season to find things out about your players. This season we know and they know each other, what they’re capable of and their strengths and weaknesses and that all helps knowing that before a ball is kicked that there will be an understanding there.
“The short term aim is to get everyone fit and get the best out of the group for the next six weeks and have everyone ready to go for the first game of the season because I really do believe with a couple more acquisitions that if we can keep this little group fit then we can be at least as successful as we were last year and if not go a bit further,” he said.