With the summer less than a month old, Russell Slade has been busy strengthening his squad for next season and revealed he was pleased with his work so far.
With the memories of the final day victory over Rochdale still fresh in the memory, Slade brought in his first new face with the capture of Bristol Rovers defender Gary Sawyer on a two-year
And just seven days later, Anthony Griffith made it two signings in as many weeks when he was recruited on a two-year deal with the option for a further year from Port Vale.
Both players will look to solve problems which clouded the O’s for much of last season following the departures of Charlie Daniels and captain Stephen Dawson to AFC Bournemouth and Barnsley
Sawyer operates as a left back while Griffith is described as a ball-winning midfielder, and after securing their services for the 2012/13 campaign, Slade labelled it a “good start” to the summer
for the O’s.
The manager explained: “It is a good start for us. We needed to address the left back position fairly swiftly to be honest and we have done that.
“We are pleased with what we have done there. With regards to Gary, he has played 100 games in the Championship with Plymouth so he comes with good pedigree.
“And Anthony is one of those that is really ambitious. He wants to move forward and he wants to get better.
“He is in a similar mould to Dawson in that he has got great energy and loves to win the ball back for the team.”
The departure of Daniels was a blow to the E10 club, contributing to the fact that Slade was unable to call upon a settled back four throughout the campaign.
No fewer than ten players operated in the left back berth for the O’s, while Dawson’s all-action displays in the heart of the midfield were certainly missed.
The early summer arrivals of both Sawyer and Griffith however, are indicative that these were players targeted by Slade.
Sawyer, who was offered the chance to remain at the Memorial Stadium, spent four seasons in the Championship prior to his switch to Rovers, while Vale fought hard to keep hold of Griffith.
Slade continued: “The timing of losing Charlie and Daws means that one, you are able to do your research, and two, I didn’t want to panic doing that during the season and just bringing somebody in
for the sake of bringing somebody in.
“We have given ourselves time to assess the market, look at what we can afford and what is available out there and be quite categoric and strategically right in what we are trying to do. And that
is what we have done.
“We identified these two a good while ago. You have only got to listen to Port Vale’s manager. I spoke to Micky Adams. He wanted to fight tooth and nail to keep Anthony Griffith.
“If you go on their website you will see they are gutted to lose him. It is just that he has been a very good League Two player that is ready now to move on and he is a good age.”
He added: “When you lose the likes of Dawson, (Alex) Revell and Daniels and then on top of that your (Lee) Butchers and (Scott) Cuthberts are out injured, you lose the nucleus of your side really.
“We have needed to readdress that for some time now but circumstances meant that we were unable to do that in the short term but clearly the long term picture is that we can do that and that is
what we are in the process of doing really.”