Date:Thursday July 6 2006
Orient captain John Mackie is looking forward to the challenge of League One football after the O`s returned to pre-season training earlier this week. Following the glorious conclusion to last season and a trip to Las Vegas, Martin Ling`s O`s are now ready to take on League One and prove that they are up to the challenge.
Having enjoyed the success and party life in Vegas, captain Mackie now realises it`s time to knuckle down as the O`s look for their second consecutive promotion. "Since clinching promotion at Oxford on the last day of the season the summer has flown by with the various awards nights, the celebratory open day at the ground and the trip to Las Vegas last week", said Mackie. The O`s centre back went on to add that, "The party is over now and Vegas marked the cut-off point for last season, because that was our last reward for promotion. Of course like any player I'm not a fan of pre-season training, but the hard work we put in now is what will benefit us most when we kick off at Port Vale on the opening day of the campaign".
Despite swapping the high life of Vegas for pre-season training, Mackie is relishing the chance to take on the likes of Nottingham Forest and Millwall this season. "Like all the lads I certainly don't mind being back working hard, because I'm really looking forward to the new season and playing at a higher level again. There are some massive games and some fantastic stadiums for us to go to during the campaign, and we will certainly be playing in front of some much bigger crowds now".
Mackie is also hoping that the Orient fans will be there in force once again to cheer on their side to more success.
"Hopefully that will also include our home matches at Brisbane Road where our fans were excellent last season. I'm sure they will come out in even bigger numbers this time as well".
There was also time for Mackie to allay fears that Orient are simply making up the numbers in League One, an opinion that the O`s skipper wholeheartedly rejects. The lack of transfer activity at Brisbane Road has engineered a mood of anxiety amongst Orient fans; however, Mackie is certain that Orient will be ready once the season starts.
"I think it's only fair that the manager has given all the players who won promotion last season the chance to prove themselves again, and I'm sure if we don't more new faces will be added".
'But I think it's good that we have a settled squad in place and that people like Adam Tann, Wayne Corden and Paul Conner, who joined us late on last season, have already fitted in really well".
'I'm sure that the five young lads, Efe Echanomi, Derek Duncan, Aiden Palmer, Jason Demetriou and Brian Saah, who have signed their first pro contracts this summer, will have a big part to play as well".
Mackie also points to performances against higher division sides during last season`s campaign as the reason why O`s fans have little need to panic. "I think we also proved ourselves last year against Fulham, Chesterfield, Yeovil and Charlton for 90 minutes so I'm sure we are more than capable of holding our own this season".
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