Date: 6th January 2006 at 5:15pm
Written by:

Martin Ling will take his Orient side to Craven Cottage on Sunday confident that the O’s can put on a decent display in front of a travelling support expected to be in excess of 5,000. Ahead of the game, Ling commented,’It’s the biggest game of the season in terms of exposure, press and in the players’ minds, but it’s not the most important’.

Despite Ling’s assertion that more important games loom on the horizon, in particular the massive game with Northampton Town on January 14th, Ling still expects Orient to give Fulham a real run for their money.’I want to go over there, put on a very good display and show what we’re all about and give Fulham a test’.

Reflecting on the successful Christmas period which saw the O’s take 9 points from a possible 12, Ling praised his players for managing to put the Fulham game to the back of their minds and continue with the job in hand. In fact, Ling revealed that the word ‘Fulham’ was actually banned from the club! ‘The four games over Christmas was where the problems would have come with players not wanting to be injured – the ‘F’ word was banned from the dressing room – but those four games produced nine points so they must have put it to the back of their minds and done their jobs’.

With the busy Christmas schedule out of the way, Ling is hoping that the players and the fans can concentrate on enjoying the game on Sunday. Ling pointed out the fact that the players ‘can concentrate on Fulham all they like and they should be looking forward to it – it’s a reward for the players for the return they’ve got from the games so far’.

Orient have had success away from home nine times in all competitions this season and Ling expects his side to keep doing what they’ve been doing and not neglect their style just because they face Premier League opposition. With this in mind, Ling has warned his players,’We’ve had some hard places to go and get results so this is a reward for their hard work and I want them to enjoy it but be professional – I don’t want that to go out of the window just because it’s Fulham’.

With the pressure off Orient and very much on their West London rivals, Ling exepcts his players to thrive on their freedom.’The players should be able to play with complete freedom and when you do that and concentrate on the jobs you have to do the chance of an upset is possible’.

Going on to explain the feeling inside the O’s camp, Ling admitted that,’There’s a massive buzz around the squad at the moment with our league position, form and the Cup game coming up – the 48 hours off was good for the players as well.’

Despite Fulham’s greater quality, Ling believes his side have a real chance as long as they stick to their way of playing and keep their concentration. ‘We need to concentrate on what we do well and not worry about what they do – that’s the most important thing on the day’.

With this game the biggest F.A. Cup tie involving Orient for some years, Ling is quite right in his assertion that,’A win against Fulham would only help our confidence and portfolio for myself, the club and the players’.