So here we are, Solihull Moors’ opening day… sort of.
After the disappointment of the postponement against Chester at the weekend, the Moors now face a tough trip to National League big-hitters Leyton Orient.
Relegated from the Football League last season and nearly going bust prior to this campaign, the O’s will now be hoping they are on the right track to return to League Two at the first time of asking.
A defeat to Sutton United on the opening day wasn’t the best start for the Orient, but they will be gunning for a first victory against Liam McDonald’s men in front of their home crowd.
Solihull Moors come into the game as a bit of an unknown quantity. After the departures of the few remaining players from the Moors’ promotion winning campaign of 2015/16, 15 new signings were made by McDonald over the summer months.
It is a bit of an unknown in terms of how most of the signings will fare this season, given that they have joined the club from an abundance of different levels, but a strong pre-season campaign has given fans optimism ahead of the new campaign. Can the Moors win their opening game? It would be fantastic if we did, especially against a side like Leyton Orient.
Solihull Moors manager Liam McDonald on the challenge of facing National League giants Leyton Orient:
‘I thought the Orient played well at Sutton but you only have to cast your mind back to last season’s FA Cup to realise that the home team is capable of causing upsets against any one and so it proved to be.
‘It will make the Orient all the more hungry to get points on the board and we will have to be very focused when we arrive in Leyton. It is a big stadium and there will be 5/6,000 home fans looking to put last season and Sutton United far behind them
‘That is where our supporters come in – I realise only a small proportion of our fans can get to the match but I need them to make themselves heard right from the start; you carried us through some difficult matches last season and I need you to start doing that again from the outset.
‘I am really looking forward to the game. We will leave in good time to acclimatise ourselves to the surroundings at the Matchroom stadium. Dover proved away at Hartlepool that there are no certainties in this league and together there is no reason why we should not expect a good result on Tuesday.’
Leyton Orient Team News:
Leyton Orient have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match with the Moors.
Although changes could be made by manager Steve Davis after their opening day defeat to Sutton United.
Craig Clay and Josh Koroma are pushing for starts after impressing from the bench at the weekend.
Defender Jamie Sendles-White looks set to miss out once again as he continues his recovery from an injury picked up last term.
Player to watch: Macauley Bonne
Signing from Colchester in the summer, there are high hopes that 21-year-old Bonne can be the man to fire Leyton Orient back to the Football League at the first time of asking.
While the O’s new number nine didn’t have the most prolific record at his previous club, Bonne managed to score five goals in pre-season and he will be hoping to take that good form into this new season as he looks to make his home debut in tonight’s game.
Solihull Moors Team News:
Tonight’s line-up is likely to see a lot of new faces making their competitive debuts for the Moors.
One new face who won’t feature is Chris Lait, who is still recovering from an injury picked up last season while at Stourbridge.
Ashley Sammons and Calum Flanagan are both likely to miss out after missing the entirety of pre-season due to injury.
Striker Jermaine Hylton is also a doubt for tonight’s game due to an ankle injury picked up in the friendly against Stratford Town 10 days ago.
Player to watch: Darren Carter
Carter was one of Liam McDonald’s marquee signings from the summer and his form over pre-season has shown why he will be such an important player for the Moors over this campaign.
Recently appointed as club captain, the former Birmingham City man will be eager to show that he still possesses the class to play at this level, despite a sad ending to his time at previous club, Forest Green Rovers.
Match Facts & Stats
Leyton Orient – 24th
Overall: Played 1; Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 1; For 0, Against 2, GD -2; Points 0.
Pre-Season Record: Played 6; Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 2.
SOLIHULL MOORS – 18th
Overall: Played 0; Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 0; For 0, Against 0, GD 0; Points 0.
Pre-Season Record: Played 8; Won 6, Drawn 1, Lost 1.
Referee: Carl Brook
Location: East Sussex
Matches officiated in National League in 17/18: 1
Yellow cards produced: 4
Red cards produced: 0
Penalties awarded: 1
Last time in charge of Solihull Moors: Boreham Wood 0-0 Solihull Moors
Assistant Referees: Michael Ryan and Damith Bandara
Fourth Official: Dean Skipper
Leyton Orient 2-2 SOLIHULL MOORS
Solihull Moors Next Six Fixtures (National League unless stated):
08/08/2017 – Leyton Orient (A) – 7.45pm
12/08/2017 – Boreham Wood (A) – 3pm
15/08/2017 – Barrow (H) – 7.45pm
19/08/2017 – FC Halifax Town (H) – 3pm
26/08/2017 – Torquay United (A) – 3pm
28/08/2017 – Tranmere Rovers (H) – 3pm