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Great Expectations: Orient's search for success

Last Saturday marked Leyton Orient's first game back in league One since 2015, when they finished second from bottom amid bleak times in the club's history.

But it was not the dream return that many fans had hoped for. The O's lost 1-0 away at London rivals Charlton, a harsh reminder of how difficult third tier football can be.

Nine players in the starting XI at The Valley played at some point during Orient's title campaign last season, with the two new faces being keeper Sol Brynn and striker Joe Pigott. Although the side was largely familiar to Orient fans, Martin Ling and the Orient Board have recruited nine players so far in the window. This includes another loan spell for fan favourite El-Mizouni and youngster Ed Turns. The other signings involve Jordan Graham, Max Sanders, Ethan Galbraith, Sam Howes and Daniel Agyei.

This year's squad has more depth than the league winning one did last season, which offers promise to the fans, who know just how long an EFL season is. Even though all of the new signings might not play initially, their role could become pivotal as the season progresses.

Despite losing a couple of key players, the overall consensus is that the squad is still more than strong enough to compete at a League One level, and one poor result should not dictate the outlook of things to come.

The game itself was closely contested, only one goal was conceded, and Orient were away from home. But what was evident was a lack of a cutting edge in front of goal. New signing Joe Pigott will be hoping to settle into his shooting boots sooner rather than later as he looks to become that prolific goal scorer that Richie Wellens desires.

Paul Smyth was Orient's top goalscorer last time out, and he returned to QPR over the summer. But what was instrumental to the success last season was the wide spread go goal contributions from midfield and defence. It is of course important not to rely on one person to score goals, which is why other players must step up, if Orient are to consolidate their place in the league going forward.

The beginning of the road does not get much easier for Orient as they travel down to Devon to face Plymouth in the first round of the EFL Cup before coming back home to prepare for their first home league game against Portsmouth on Saturday. A contest that is sure to have a buzzing atmosphere.

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