Changes in hotseat have hampered O’s

Leyton Orient striker David Mooney has scored four goals in eight starts this season
Leyton Orient striker David Mooney has scored four goals in eight starts this season
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After two seasons at the top end of League One, it is at the wrong e-nd of the table where Leyton Orient find themselves going into their clash with Preston North End at Deepdale.

The East London side were play-off finalists in May, losing to Rotherham on penalties.

A year earlier, they had missed out on the top six by only three points.

They travel to Lancashire in 20th place, goal difference keeping them out of the drop zone.

Last week, The O’s were beaten 1-0 at Brisbane Road by Fleetwood, that a set-back after emphatic wins against Yeovil and Crawley over Christmas.

Having four managers or head coaches in six months cannot be helping Orient’s cause on the pitch.

They came under new ownership in the summer, long-time owner Barry Hearn selling the club to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti.

After Russell Slade resigned in order to join Cardiff – he had been threatened with the sack after some poor results – his assistant Kevin Nugent was placed in charge as interim boss for the season.

But he was replaced by Mauro Milanese who had been technical director.

Milanese’s first game in charge was Preston’s 2-0 win in the capital on October 28.

He lasted until the start of December when Fabio Liverani was appointed.

That change saw Milanese go back to his behind-the-scenes role.

Looking from the outside at the upheaval, North End boss Simon Grayson said: “Orient is a club which has had a lot of change off the pitch.

“The group of players are the same which have done well for the last couple of years.

“Maybe the changes off the field have affected things on it?

“We will respect them, they have got players who can hurt you like David Mooney, Kevin Lisbie, Dean Cox and Romain Vincelot.

“They are all good players who have done very well there.”

Striker Mooney has netted four goals despite missing a number of games through injury.

Mooney could partner Chris Dagnall up front against PNE, Dagnall their top scorer with eight goals.

Nathan Clarke, brother of Preston’s Tom, will be in the Orient squad at Deepdale.

But he only got as far as the bench for the Fleetwood defeat last week.

Orient have added John Lundstram to their squad during the transfer window.

The midfielder is on loan from Everton, having spent the first half of the season with Blackpool.

He was also at loan with The O’s last season.

Said Lundstram: “It’s going to be a hard game for us but with it being on TV, there is that extra buzz and hopefully we can fetch the three points back with us.

“Any team going to Preston this season is going to find it tough and we will probably be the underdogs but we have to get ourselves firing up the table.

“I enjoyed my spell here last season and everyone at the club has welcomed me back, which is great.

“That’s helped me settle back in straight away.

“The lads had a great start last season and it was always going to be difficult to replicate it this season.

“We are confident we can move up the table – the squad is good enough and there is no reason why we still cannot make the play-offs.

“The chance to play Championship football was great but it didn’t quite work out.

“It was frustrating when Blackpool got rid of the manager who brought me in and I was no longer in favour..

“I didn’t play for a bit towards the end of my spell there and I did lose a bit of sharpness initially.”