Williams doing the business at Orient

FORMER Colchester United manager Geraint Williams has instilled a never-say-die attitude into his new Leyton Orient team, something he struggled to achieve during his later days at the Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

GERAINT Williams speaks to Colchester United correspondent Carl Marston, on the eve of his current team Leyton Orient entertaining his former club his weekend

FORMER Colchester United manager Geraint Williams has instilled a never-say-die attitude into his new Leyton Orient team, something he struggled to achieve during his later days at the Community Stadium.

The O's entertain the U's in an intriguing League One clash in East London this Saturday, and Williams is intent on getting the better of his old club.


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The Welshman can boast a fantastic record, since his appointment as the new O's boss two months ago. He was appointed on February 5, initially until the end of the season.

Just three defeats in 12 games has seen the O's rise clear of the relegation zone, thanks to some gritty performances, none more so than on Tuesday night when his 10-man side battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with in-form Leeds United.

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“That was a good point against a good team. It shows that we have a strong character in the team,” revealed Williams.

“Like so many times, over the last couple of months, the players have shown an ability to come back after falling behind. They have continued to bounce back from losing positions.

“When I saw the chairman (Barry Hearn) before my appointment, I just said that I wanted to win as many football matches as I could.

“The record has been good. We have won seven and drawn two of the 12 games, although of course I'm never happy, because I want to win every game!

“It's all been down to the players. I just have to make sure that I get the best out of them,” added Williams.

Ex-midfielder Williams originally joined Colchester from Ipswich Town as a player in 1998, following the U's promotion via the play-offs to Nationwide Division Two.

The Welsh international made 39 league appearances as a defensive midfielder for United, to help establish the Essex club in their new division.

But his biggest impact with Colchester came off the pitch, in his various roles as coach, assistant manager (to Steve Whitton and Phil Parkinson), caretaker manager and finally manager.

His 10-year association with the U's was finally ended last September, when he parted company following a poor start to this season, which had seen the side floundering in 23rd spot.

But it has not taken him too long to find a new job. And on Saturday, new meets old at Brisbane Road.

“I won't be treating this game any differently, even though it's Colchester. I have been up amongst many old clubs during my days as a player and a coach,” continued Williams.

“Colchester are on a decent run, and we know that they will work hard. It won't feel strange to me, even though I will know most of the players. It's just another day and another game.

“I'm only concerned with Leyton Orient. Kevin Nugent (assistant manager) started the ball rolling as caretaker before I arrived, by getting a good win at MK Dons, and both he and Kevin Dearden (chief scout and goalkeeping coach) have been key people.”

Just as current Colchester boss Paul Lambert has rectified a dreadful home record - the U's did not win any of their first six games at their new ground - so his predecessor Williams has improved the fortunes of Leyton Orient on home turf.

Before Williams' arrival, the O's had won just two matches at Brisbane Road. But picking up more points at home has worked wonders for the club.

In fact, Tuesday night's 2-2 draw against Leeds has left them a healthy seven points clear of the relegation zone.

“We have turned the home form around a little. We have won three and drawn one of our six home games,” confirmed Williams.

“It was also nice to have the ground well populated (6,943) for the Leeds match. There was a good atmosphere, and we will be hoping for the same against the U's,” added Williams.

Orient were trailing Leeds by two goals, with just 25 minutes to go, and were also down to 10 men following the dismissal of winger Jason Demetriou. But goals from Sean Thornton and Simon Church secured a draw to increase the points tally to 49. One more win would see them reach 52, which is usually regarded as the safety mark.

Predictably, Williams does not look at it in that way: “I'm not thinking that one win and we will be safe.”

Similarly, the Welshman is not thinking about what the future holds when his short-term contract expires this summer. But I lay wager that he will still be the O's boss next season!

Williams fact-file

GERAINT Williams has transformed the fortunes of Leyton Orient since his appointment on February 5:

BEFORE WILLIAMS' ARRIVAL …

Position: 23rd (second from bottom)

Points: 26

Home wins: 2

Away wins: 4

Record: 26 points from 29 games

…. JUST TWO MONTHS LATER

Position: 15th (mid-table)

Points: 49

Home wins: 5

Away wins: 8

Record: 23 points from 12 games

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