Christmas comes early for Slade as O’s prepare for Tranmere trip

Keeper Jones could be back in contention

Orient manager Russell Slade is keen to keep the momentum going following Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup success against Charlton.

O’s launch their League One campaign at Tranmere tomorrow and want to build on the 1-1 draw Charlton and penalty shoot-out success.

“Traditionally I don’t get off to a good start, so I feel like it’s Christmas winning before the end of August,” said Slade.

“It’s a good start and the important thing is that we continue it on our travels at Tranmere. It’s a difficult place to go.

“Whatever team I have taken up there, it’s never been easy and I don’t expect Saturday to be any different. We lost there 2-0 last season, so it would be nice to win.”

Orient gave six of their eight summer signings a full debut at Charlton and Slade was pleased with the impact they made.

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All four goals in the penalty shoot-out came from new signings and keeper Ryan Allsop saved a spot-kick.

But there was special praise for new skipper Nathan Clarke and Scott Cuthbert. The duo were outstanding at the heart of the O’s defence and Slade said: “The two centre-backs did well, as did Mathieu Baudry sitting in midfield.

“I can’t be too critical. Yes, we made mistakes and yes, we can improve, they are things to work on. But overall it’s a pleasing start, but that’s all it is, a start.”

Slade will be hoping that extra-time did not take too much out of his players on Tuesday night and he admitted: “It’s the last thing I’m sure both teams wanted.

“It was most unusual to be playing a cup game before the league season starts, whether it’s right or wrong. But we got a result. If you don’t win and play 120 minutes it makes it even harder. But you have to get on with it.

“The first thing I asked after 90 minutes was what was going on in the Chesterfield v Tranmere game and I’m delighted that went to extra-time as well.”

O’s came through the game without any injury worries. “We took Nathan (Clarke) off as a precaution as he was tightening up,” said Slade. But he should be okay for Saturday and there is a chance that goalkeeper Jamie Jones could be fit too.

“He will train today (Friday) and see how he goes,” said the O’s boss.

Slade will be looking for more of the same from his team: “I was really proud of the performance at Charlton, to be honest,” he said.

“The attitude was excellent and I thought we were unfortunate to go a goal down, but the heads didn’t drop and we kept going. On reflection it would have been disappointing not to get something out of it.

“It was nice to come out on top in a penalty shoot-out, as we lost the last one 14-13 to Dagenham.

“Even though we were playing a different system, more of a 4-3-3, I never saw any heads go down, the players showed a terrific attitude and we stood strong.”