IT’S been a massive learning curve for Leyton Orient rookie manager Ross Embleton this season – and he reckons keeping his cool shows he’s on the right path.
Embleton was thrust into the spotlight in the most difficult of circumstances last summer, taking the reins after hugely popular boss Justin Edinburgh died at the age of 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Former Tottenham defender Edinburgh had just led the O’s to the National League title and brought a feelgood factor back to the club.
In the aftermath, Edinburgh’s assistant Embleton was appointed interim head coach as the O’s tried to maintain some semblance of normality. The 38-year-old made a decent fist of it before the club appointed Carl Fletcher as their new boss in October. For the best League Two odds head to www.betting24.se.
However, former Bournemouth midfielder Fletcher endured a miserable 29-day spell in charge before being sacked and Embleton again took the reins on a temporary basis. This time, though, there was a different ending as Embleton was appointed permanent boss in early January.
On the back of everything that has happened at the Breyer Group Stadium since the end of last season, it’s no great surprise the O’s haven’t set the world alight in League Two.
Heading into the weekend, they were 19th, only six points ahead of bottom of the table side Morecambe.
It’s been a baptism of fire for Embleton, who saw his side fight back superbly to earn a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Northampton in midweek after a timid first half display.
“I’m getting more comfortable dealing with the frustrations of the first half because in the past I would have been kicking things or throwing things around or telling the fourth official what I think of him, so now I walk to the other end of my technical area to make sure I manage that emotion,” he said.
While Embleton is learning to keep calm in the dugout, he doesn’t plan on changing his ‘tell it as it is’ approach when dealing with the media.
“I try to be honest and tell people what I think,” he said. “If that means upsetting someone or saying the wrong thing or someone takes it the wrong way, I’m not going to apologise because it’s what I think.
“I would rather be that sort of person than someone trying to cliché their way out of it or avoid the question.”
As for whether the O’s – with just one win in 17 matches in all competitions pre-weekend – will maintain the League status they worked so hard to regain last season, Embleton is upbeat.
“The target at the start of the season was to try to find stability again, to find normality,” he said. “I think we’ve started to find normality.
“What we need to do now is start to find consistency in our performance, build and get more results.
“I’ll be honest, I never looked at the league table last year and we won the league. My job is to make sure that Leyton Orient get points and win matches.
“If it starts getting closer to the end of the season and we’re still in a precarious situation, then I might have to analyse it. I’m looking to make this team better, I’m looking to make us more consistent, to put more points on the board.
“That’s my primary focus. What everyone else does around us will evolve and we’ll worry about that if and when we need to worry about it.”
And Embleton believes the mood could change rapidly.
“Once we get a few wins under our belt that reduces the anxiety a little bit more for everybody,” he added.
“I think that will take all the edginess away.”