In a break from tradition, the Football League season has kicked off with Capital One Cup ties. Many clubs have played their opening fixture in the competition over the weekend and on Tuesday night Leyton Orient will get their season underway with a short trip to the Valley to face Charlton.
Charlton Athletic were crowned champions of League One last season with an impressive total of 101 points and Chris Powell’s side continued their winning form into pre-season as they prepare to make the step up to the Championship. Charlton won eight of their ten friendlies, including victories against Sporting Lisbon and Fulham.
It is expected that Chris Powell will rest his key players against Orient ahead of the league match against Birmingham City on Saturday. The Charlton boss will have to contend with injury problems also, as Andy Hughes and goalkeeper Nick Pope are likely to be unavailable for selection due to injury.
It has been a quiet summer in terms of transfer activity at the Valley with only three players having been brought in so far. Striker Jordan Cook joined the club after leaving Sunderland in the summer, while Salim Kerkar also signed for the Addicks after a successful trial. The third addition to the squad was Lawrie Wilson. The former Stevenage player was also a target for Charlton’s Championship rivals Peterborough but Wilson elected to sign for the South East London side. All three players could be set to make their debuts against the O’s.
Last term was a struggle for Leyton Orient and despite a large number of changes to the squad, results have not gone their way during pre-season either. Non-league sides Ebbsfleet, Dartford and Luton all claimed victories over the O’s during the close-season, however Orient performed well in behind-closed-doors friendlies against Wolves’ and QPR’s reserve teams.
Russell Slade’s squad is not blessed with depth, therefore it is unlikely that the Orient boss will field a weakened side. New goalkeeper Ryan Allsop is expected to start with Lee Butcher continuing his rehabilitation from a knee injury sustained last season. Jamie Jones has missed recent friendlies due to a injury and he is likely to miss the cup clash also, but he may be fit in time for the trip to Tranmere on Saturday. Youth team goalkeeper Charlie Grainger will take a place on the bench. The rest of the squad are available for selection.
The pre-season was a period of radical change for the O’s, with nine players departing and eight new signings joining the squad. Mathieu Baudry, Gary Sawyer and new captain Nathan Clarke have strengthened the Orient defence. Lloyd James’ versatility makes him a useful addition to a small squad, while Anthony Griffith will be hoping to replace former Orient captain Stephen Dawson. Strikers Ryan Brunt and Michael Symes have also been brought in, and with both players measuring over 6 ft they provide an aerial threat that has been missing in recent years for the O’s. All of the new signings have a good chance of featuring at some point during the Charlton match.
Orient and Charlton have been drawn together in the League Cup on three occasions before this season. Their first meeting in the competition was in November 1962 with the O’s defeating Charlton 3-2. Just over two years later Charlton claimed victory in front of their home fans, knocking Orient out of the cup at the third round. Their most recent meeting in the League Cup was during the 1990/1991 season. A 2-2 draw at the Valley led to a replay at Brisbane Road where Orient defeated the Addicks by a goal to nil.
Charlton’s best finish in the League Cup came in 2006/2007 as they reached the quarter-finals. Orient defeated the Addicks on the way to the quarter-finals of the 1962/1963 competition.
Last term, Charlton made it beyond the first round for the first time in three years, but they were beaten in the second round by Preston. Orient performed well in the League Cup last term, defeating Southend and Bristol Rovers to reach the third round before going out at the hands of then Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.