Life at Leyton Orient: 'Naughty November' had the players on their best behaviour

The O Zone

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The Independent Football

One of the first things fans and staff look for when the fixture list comes is the long Tuesday night away trips. Two stood out this year, Port Vale in March, and Bristol City, where we travelled last week.

For the Tuesday trips, the day will start early for the players who are due to leave E10 just after 9am. They then stop at a hotel en route for a pre-match meal. The club books rooms as well so the players can relax for a few hours before going on to the ground.

On Tuesday, though, the traffic was a nightmare in London meaning a couple of the lads were late and picked up fines. The players are hot on their fines at the moment as it has been "Naughty November" whereby any penalties are doubled.

The vast majority of fines are between £5 and £20, with one of the most common being for training gear left out. The players love nothing more than reporting it to Scott Cuthbert and Nathan Clarke, who are in charge of fines, and getting a photo of the offending kit up on Twitter.

One player who didn't pick up a fine thanks to the heavy traffic, though, was our winger and goal scorer that evening, Dean Cox. I know this as I bumped into Coxy on the Tube on the way in. He is one of the minority of players who doesn't drive, but gets about thanks to lifts and the Central Line.

Coxy was at the centre of a fines debate on Thursday, though, regarding the controversial subject of the toaster. Some of the players eat their breakfast at home while others will grab some toast, which is available with jam or peanut butter, at the training ground. Training starts at 10.30am and the players are not allowed to eat after 10am.

On this occasion, Coxy and Shaun Batt were caught by Lee the fitness coach at 10.02am with slices of toast in their hands. Lee is a stickler for the rules and announced that it was a fine for the pair, much to the delight of the other players.

Coxy was stubborn, though, and argued that the offending toast had actually entered the toaster before 10am and that, therefore, it was not a fine. Lee deliberated and disappeared to clarify the rules before agreeing with Coxy – much to the dismay of Kevin Lisbie who deemed the ruling outrageous.

We didn't get back from Bristol until 2am after our 2-2 draw on Tuesday night. Arriving home that late takes it out of everyone so the emphasis in the following days was placed on recovery. That meant Wednesday off, as usual, before going swimming on Thursday to help alleviate stiffness and stay fresh. Then on Friday it was back to the shape work and set-piece rehearsals.

Thursday was also the loan deadline day, which provides the last opportunity for Football League clubs to bring players in – or loan them out – before the January transfer window. The only movement for us was out. Jayden Stockley returned to his parent club Bournemouth before heading out afterwards to Torquay in League Two.

Jayden had been staying in one of the flats in the corner of the Matchroom Stadium and popped in to the office to say his goodbyes and return his keys before driving west.

The gaffer had his usual flurry of phone calls from agents on the day, but no one came in to join us. The squad looks like it has a bit more depth recently with the additions of Josh Wright and Robbie Simpson. With the busy Christmas period looming all of them happily came through the Junior Os Christmas party on Sunday unscathed.