PREVIEW: Hendon on Mansfield test and injury update

access_time 6 years ago

Head Coach Ian Hendon is hoping the O’s can build on their strong run of recent form when they head to seventh-placed Mansfield Town tomorrow.

Including last week’s goalless draw against Scunthorpe in the FA Cup, Hendon’s side are unbeaten in their last four fixtures and Hendon is eager to extend that, while victory would see the O’s leapfrog the Stags and move back into the play-off positions.

“It was a good performance last week against a team in a higher division, but we are back to the league business now and it is important to go to Mansfield and pick up a result,” Hendon told

Tomorrow’s hosts come into the game in a play-off spot, and Hendon believes they have surprised a few people and teams with their good start to the season.

“It’s the same as normal – it is another tough test. We have had them watched and we will be trying to expose their weaknesses and nullify their strengths,” he added. 

“They have got off to a good start and may well have surprised one or two. Adam has got some experienced players in there. They are a strong side and work hard for each other so it is going to be difficult.”

The O’s will be boosted by the return of defender Connor Essam tomorrow, who is likely to feature in the matchday squad having returned from his ankle injury ahead of schedule.

Goalkeeper Alex Cisak and striker Jay Simpson, who picked up the League Two Player of the Month award for November, are still doubts, though Hendon can also call upon loanee Cole Kpewaka and striker John Marquis, who served his one-match suspension in the FA Cup tie last weekend.

“Hopefully a few will return,” said Hendon.  “John is back from suspension and Connor Essam will be back in the squad after injury. Cole is available to us now as well so there is three for starters.

“We are still monitoring Jay and Alex at the moment. We will give them until the last minute to make a decision on those two.

“Connor has been working hard and we have seen him day in, day out. Our Physio Peter Webb and Fitness Coach Craig Smith have worked really well with him and he is back ahead of schedule.

“It will be another tough period for us with three fixtures in the space of a week, so we have to make sure we are fully prepared for the different challenges that come our way.”