Why the pressure is on ex-Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett after handed Leyton Orient mission

Kenny Jackett is under pressure to deliver a top-seven placing in his maiden Leyton Orient season.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:55 am
Kenny Jackett has been appointed Leyton Orient boss - and will be challenged to win promotion from League Two in 2021-22. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Yet fans of the League Two club are united behind their new boss during ‘exciting times’.

According to Orient writer Brendan Pitcher, the ambitious appointment of Pompey’s former boss has delivered a powerful statement to rivals.

The O’s last season finished a disappointing 11th position in League Two, 12 points adrift of the play-offs.

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It prompted them to recruit Jackett, who was dismissed by Pompey in March following three-and-a-half years at Fratton Park.

Jackett has signed a 12-month rolling contract at Brisbane Road and been given the go-ahead to overhaul the squad.

Yet he will be expected to bring immediate success.

Pitcher told The News: ‘When the owners came in, Orient were in the National League, didn’t have a bank account, and had three players all were under 23. A complete rebuild was needed.

‘We are now in year five of their ownership – and they have a 6-7 year plan to get back into League One.

‘This is the final stage of that plan and it feels like a real statement by appointing Kenny Jackett

‘They see him as the man to deliver promotion and the fact that it’s a one-year contract makes me believe it’s almost a case of top-seven as an absolute minimum.

‘They are actually probably looking at the top three with their expectations.

‘For his first press conference as manager, he was a little coy when asked about the club’s ambition, but he will be well aware of what the board expect of him.

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‘He wouldn’t come here unless he thought Orient was going to be a top League Two club looking to get into League One.

‘I don’t see why he would have dropped down unless he anticipates promotion almost immediately.

‘With recent new investment and bringing in Kenny Jackett, I would be surprised if we weren’t among the top four or five well-invested clubs in League Two in terms of budget.

‘Although if we are not around the top seven by January/February, then questions will be asked about Kenny.’

Jobi McAnuff was made interim manager in February, yet was unable to drag Orient into play-off contention.

He has since departed Brisbane Road, along with a number of players, including ex-Pompey forward Louis Dennis, who has been released.

Now Jackett is charged with boosting the League Two club’s fortunes.

Pitcher added: ‘When he was first mentioned as a candidate, it was almost a case of “Give over, Kenny Jackett? He’s not going to join us”.

‘Even in the final stages, when it was almost done, people still weren’t believing it.

‘Honestly I don’t think I have seen any bad comments on social media. Universally, it has been met with a positive reaction.

‘It’s an exciting time for the club.’

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