Where We Are
After another in the endless procession of last-minute defeats that this club seems to go through we find our selves at the bottom of League One, 10 points behind the rest of the league. Despite this the team’s ability to recover from a 2 goal deficit, albeit to ultimately lose the match, should offer encouragement that our depleted squad can still mix it with the rest of the league. The goals of Moussa and Wilson also offer hope that we can rely much less on a single front-man for our goals this season. That being said it’s difficult to really read too much into the first game of the season.
Wilson’s goal though may perhaps tempt Pressley to persevere with the 4-4-2 formation despite the lack of midfield stability that arguably cost us at least one of the three Crawley goals. Tonight’s match though may offer another chance for our manager to experiment with formation and shape and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a large number of Saturday’s starters rested. With a difficult and busy few weeks ahead it may even be in Pressley’s desire to play with as few first-team players as possible, especially given our current transfer embargo and wafer-thin squad. However with confidence seemingly brittle at the club it may also be in Pressley’s interests to grab a win in order to give fans and players alike something to take into the coming weeks.
Last Time We Played Them
Another of our post-points deduction opponents of last season and another who narrowly won. Despite a promising performance in our last home game at the Ricoh Arena, Orient edged the game with a typical counter attack, scoring from one of their few attempts on target. The scorer that day was attacking midfielder Dean Cox as Orient showed nous and pace on the break. Pressley experimented during that game with Danny Philliskirk up front, who tried but lacked the killer instinct to be a lone striker at this level, that he was subsequently released perhaps suggests that the previous encounter has little more than a glorified friendly match in Pressley’s mind.
How Are They Doing?
Orient started their league season away to Carlisle and after a thumping 5-1 win currently sit top of the embryonic league table. Counter-typically for a Russell Slade side it seems like they are pumped up on all cylinders early in the season, carrying on last year’s encouraging finish. Although very early in the season it appears that by keeping together much of last year’s squad, Slade has managed to coax out a strong group mentality, and has only added sparingly giving the squad a rather lean look. However with such a small squad the League Cup may come as an unwanted pressure on resources so early in the campaign. Yet with so little to choose from Slade may find it difficult to even rest players so will most likely be looking to maintain momentum.
The key players for Orient are Dean Cox and Kevin Lisbie who provide most of the attacking threat for the East Londoners. Cox is a winger who has been converted into an attacking midfielder playing in the hole just behind the lone striker, his two goals in Saturday were of supreme quality and is perhaps a player capable of playing at a much higher level. Lisbie is an experienced striker who has found a new home recently at Leyton Orient with a scoring record of just under one every two games. Aside from that wingers Shaun Batt and Moses Odubajo as well as striker David Mooney are all potential match winners. Orient are a close knit team unit and the problem will most likely be finding gaps to exploit rather than defending against star individuals.
It’s hard to judge just how either manager will approach this match with reasons for either to both rest players or try to build confidence and momentum at an early stage in the season. With Orient playing their first home game of the season and getting off to such an impressive start I anticipate that they go into the match with a significant advantage. Recent events such as rumours surrounding Leon Clarke, Murphy and Baker as well as the charity match adding further to the sense of instability at the club it could push the team on to overcome adversity. However with the game coming in a cup competition that we have little chance of winning and with the league taking on far more importance as the result of the points deduction I predict a 2-0 loss which will only take importance amongst the increasingly rabid SISU-out campaginers.