HESSENTHALER: 'It's a tough start but one we are looking forward to'

access_time 5 years ago
Orient manager Andy Hessenthaler is hoping the O’s can get the season off to a flyer much like they did last season, but knows it won’t be easy against two of the newly-promoted sides in the opening few weeks.
For the second season in succession the O’s open their League Two campaign against the National League champions, this time in the shape of Cheltenham Town on August 6, and then follow that away trip with a visit to the National League Play-Off winners Grimsby Town.
Hessenthaler admits both teams will be full of confidence heading into the season, and knows the O’s will have be switched on from the outset.
“Whoever you play, the first games are always tough and while it would have been nice to be at home for the first game, we are away at Cheltenham who are newly promoted from the National League,” Hessenthaler told leytonorient.com.
“They will be on a high and I am sure they are excited. They will look at us as one of the bigger clubs in this division, which doesn’t make it easier. 
“It is a tough start but one we are looking forward to.  Cheltenham have a good manager in Gary Johnson who has a wealth of experience so he knows what they will be coming into and will get his players ready. 
“Grimsby have been out of the league for a while but they are a big club. We will do our homework on both of them so we will be prepared.”
Last season, The O’s remained undefeated in the league throughout August, and while the campaign ended unsuccessfully with Orient failing to reach the play-offs, Hessenthaler is eager to begin the campaign in similar fashion.
“It would be lovely to get off to the same start that we did last year,” he added.
“We had the five wins from the five games and whether that helped or not I don’t know. It raised expectations and then when we did have a blip we found it difficult. We will be certainly looking to get off to a fast start and hopefully that will be the case.”
The draw for the First Round of the EFL Cup also took place this afternoon and will see the O’s in action for the first time at home this season when they host Championship outfit Fulham, before their maiden home league encounter against Newport County.
On the draw and Newport’s preparation for the new campaign, Hessenthaler remarked: “The Fulham Cup game is a nice draw for us, hopefully with a decent crowd and one where we could potentially progress. 
“That’s a nice one in between the two league games with Newport being the first league one.  That won’t be easy. 
“Newport have restructured their team over the summer and for me, everybody loves to come to Leyton Orient because it is a nice ground and a nice pitch and as a player it gives you a little lift.”
Click here for the full 2016-17 League Two schedule for the O’s.