Leyton Orient are heading for League One after a fantastic 2022/23 campaign, but there remains plenty of hard work to do over the summer.
Leyton Orient boss Richie Wellens will be keen to bolster his ranks where possible while maintaining the core group of players that has taken the club back to the third-tier.
To do that though, there remains a lot of work to be done on the contract front. It won’t be long before decisions need to be made and the retained list announcement won’t be far away either. Here, we look at what to expect…
Who could be released?
While there are some vital players who need to be retained, some look almost certain to head for pastures new.
January signing Jordan Lyden has barely played since joining on a free transfer and looks destined for an exit, as does loaned out full-back Connor Wood. Exits for goalkeepers Sam Sargeant and Rhys Byrne would mean more depth is needed in goal but as their contracts near expiry, they will likely have a better shot at getting more game time away from Brisbane Road.
There will be some players that divide opinion though and long-serving midfielder Craig Clay could be among them. The 30-year-old has been with the O’s since the summer of 2017 and has played 225 times for the club, but his game time this season has mainly come from the bench. Promotion could lead to a more limited role but he could still have a part to play in Wellens’ squad.
Who could be retained?
Some of those who need to be deemed as priorities are star goalkeeper Lawrence Vigoroux and popular forward Paul Smyth. Both have been key to Orient’s success and they would be tough players to replace if they end up moving elsewhere.
38-year-old midfielder Darren Pratley has shown he’s still got plenty to offer too. He’s been a consistent starter for Wellens and if he plans on continuing his playing career, Leyton Orient could be the place for him to do so.
Youngsters Jayden Sweeney and Jordan Brown are two others the O’s should be looking to tie down too. Academy graduate Dan Happe is a player who can have a key role under Wellens moving forward too and now that he’s back from a long-term injury, he will hopefully sign a new deal as well. Last but certainly not least, Omar Beckles is another must-keep player.
There’s plenty of work to be done for Orient and it will be hoped they can keep together the core group that has sealed the League Two title this summer.