The wait is finally over. The new season gets underway tomorrow as the O’s host Barnet at the Matchroom Stadium and Head Coach Ian Hendon is calling on his side to remain cool, calm and collected if they are to enjoy a positive start to the 2015-16 Sky Bet League Two season.
The O’s ended their pre-season with a solid 1-0 win at Southend United last Sunday and Hendon hopes to take their strong form into the season opener against Martin Allen’s side.
“We got our noses in front and in the second half we had to hang on. It was a good game and a nice way to finish off pre-season,” Hendon told leytonorient.com
“Everything that has been done in the last six weeks has been focussed on the first game. If we are not prepared and ready for tomorrow then there is a problem.
“We have got to go out and play with a bit of composure and not get carried away with the occasion. I am sure if the lads perform to what they have done over pre-season then I am hoping we will have an enjoyable afternoon, but obviously Barnet are there to upset all the hard work we have been doing.
“We know it is going to be a tough game as they always are against Martin Allen teams. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we will get the result we are looking for.”
The O’s may not have played a game at the Matchroom Stadium, but took part in a training session on the pitch.
And while the matchday atmosphere cannot be recreated, Hendon was pleased to get some of his new signings acclimatised ahead of the big kick-off.
“It was nice for the lads to get used to the surroundings. I don’t think you can recreate a matchday atmosphere until you play on a matchday,” he added.
“We are looking forward to it. It is my first home game as a manager and I am really hoping we get a good crowd tomorrow. I am sure Barnet will bring a few with them and I hope we perform well with the crowd behind us and with us for tomorrow’s game.”
Team wise, striker Paul McCallum remains a major doubt for the O’s having come off with an ankle injury at Southend, and the Head Coach admits it will be touch and go whether he makes his debut tomorrow.
“Paul has been a doubt all week really but we are going to give him up until the last minute to see how he is,” said Hendon.
“He did some light training today and went in earlier than the rest of the boys, but we will have to see how he is tomorrow. But it’s a long season and it is not all about one game. We won’t take any chances with him if he is not quite right.”