Date: 7th January 2006 at 8:01pm
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Orient travel to Fulham in confident mood having taken 9 points from a possible 12 over the Christmas schedule. With Fulham missing a string of players, Martin Ling will be looking for the O’s to cause an upset in front of an estimated travelling support of 6,000. Yes, 6,000! All together now, ‘YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE AT HOME!’

Vital Quotes:

Speaking ahead of the game on Sunday, Fulham boss Chris Coleman was wary of the threat posed by Orient. ‘I’ll be happy to go through 1-0. It doesn’t matter how we get through we just have to win the game because we want to progress in this competition,’ he said. ‘It’s not a blessing in disguise playing Orient because it’s going to be a tough game, whatever team we put out?. Coleman has warned his players that the game is ?a potential banana skin tie – they’re two leagues below us and we’re in the Premiership. They have nothing to lose and all the pressure is on us?.

Fulham Team News:

Fulham will give a debut to new signing Simon Elliot who was signed from American club Columbus Crew. The New Zealand international will take the place of Papa Bouba Diop who is away with Senegal for the African Cup Of Nations. Orient will be relieved to find out that Diop will be absent as he has been in superb form for Fulham this season, and is one of the Cottager’s most influential midfielders. Another positive for Orient will be the absence of Steed Malbranque who is highly rated in the Premiership. Liam Rosenior and Heidar Helguson are rated as doubtful whilst Phillipe Christanval, Claus Jensen, Carlos Bocanegra and Moritz Volz are all definitely out. New signing Antti Niemi does not officially join until Monday.

Player to watch: Luis Boa Morte

The Fulham captain oozes class and is the catalyst for most of Fulham’s attacking verve. His pace and trickery will give Orient a real problem. He has played in centre midfield recently, but if employed on the left he will come inside and leave space in behind for a certain Shane Tudor to exploit. His pace and vision will be key in creating chances for Collins John and the in-form Brian McBride.

Leyton Orient Team News:

Orient have no new injury worries ahead of the game with Lee Steele still ruled out with a hamstring problem. Efe Echanomi is the only long-term absentee as Glenn Morris returns to take his place on the bench.

Player to watch: Glyn Garner

It should be expected that Glyn might have a few saves to make and will have to be at the top of his game if Orient are to get anything at Craven Cottage. He needs to be far more vocal than he has done in recent games and certainly needs to be more positive when coming for corners. The defence will need their goalkeeper to give them encouragement in what will be a tough game for the O’s.

Match Facts & Stats

This is the 2nd meeting in the F.A Cup between the sides but the first since 1954 which saw the O’s run out 2-1 winners. Orient haven’t played at Craven Cottage since Mark Warren’s 89th minute equaliser gave the O’s a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw in 1996. 10 years on and Fulham are in the Premiership having lost just twice at home all season, whilst Orient are still battling it out in League Two, though not for much longer we hope. So far this season the O’s have won 9 times away from home in all competitions including wins at Chesterfield (2-1) and Rushden (1-0) in the two previous rounds.

Ref Watch:

Peter Walton will be the referee at Craven Cottage.

Match Prediction:

With Fulham missing such big players as Malbranque and Bouba Diop it will certainly give Orient the idea that a result is not beyond them. They will have the backing of 6,000 Orient fans behind the goal at the Putney End who will be giving them a fantastic backing throughout.

Fulham will provide a threat through the pace of Boa Morte and Collins John not to mention the aerial prowess of McBride, but they do concede goals far too easily. There’s definately goals in this game for the O’s and if they can play as they have been away from home this season, with the exception of Wycombe, then there’s no reason why they can’t force a replay.

Remember kick off is at 2pm, although try and get there early as there are limited turnstile entrances and the police are keen to avoid queues. If you’re not going to the game then you can listen live on BBC Radio 5 Live 909/693 from 2pm.