Having lost so cruelly on Saturday, Orient will try and grind out their first victory in ten games when they take on Gillingham at Brisbane Road tonight.
It`s been a miserable period of time since Lee Steele`s last minute winner against Bournemouth on August 12th. The O`s have suffered some horrific defeats and the Orient fans have possibly suffered even more. With dwindling crowds and the inevitable pessimism surrounding E10, Martin Ling will be looking for his players to lift the flagging spirits at the club.
At least Orient may feel as if they are making progress after Saturday. True, there were dreadful defensive mistakes, but the O`s still played some lovely football and but for the woodwork possibly would have taken all three points. Tonight, the O`s take on a Gillingham side that has not kept a clean sheet this season and a team that was obliterated 4-1 by Oldham on Saturday.
It`s a game that Orient need to win as they seek to close the four point gap that has already opened up above them. To lose two home games in four days would be a disaster, but that`s the reality facing Martin Ling if his team fails to perform.
Martin Ling is a worried man and with his side losing eight games out their last nine, few would deprive the O`s manager of feeling slightly anxious. Talking to leytonorient.com, Ling addressed the current problems that the O`s are facing.
“There’s a little bit of a gap opening in terms of the relegation issue and we’ve got to put things together quickly”, said the O`s manager. ‘We’ll keep shuffling it about until we get the right combination and the squad’s going to have to stick together”.
With the O`s in such poor form, Ling rather unsurprisingly, underlined the lack of confidence at the club. ‘Confidence is definitely a factor, there’s no doubt about that, and we’re getting the feeling at the moment that it’s not going to be our day.
When you get in a rut the next game becomes bigger and bigger and we’ve got to go in there and lift them for Tuesday”.
Leyton Orient Team News:
Orient welcome back skipper John Mackie after the defender served a one match suspension following his sending off at Brighton. Mackie`s return will surely see either Clayton Fortune or Brian Saah drop to the bench as Ling tries to accommodate his captain.
Adam Tann, Shane Tudor and Craig Easton all remain on the sidelines due to injury whilst Efe Echanomi is still too far away from match fitness to be included.
Daryl McMahon should keep his place in the O`s midfield with Joe Keith continuing on the bench.
Orient Probable: Garner, Miller, Lockwood, Mackie, Fortune, Corden, Simpson, Chambers, McMahon, Alexander, Steele. Subs: Morris, Saah, Keith, Connor, Ibehre.
Player to watch: Wayne Corden
Wayne Corden has started to find his feet after a disappointing start to the new season. After some electrifying performances during his loan spell last season, the former Scunthorpe man has failed to reproduce the same level of intensity in his performances so far this season. However, having set up both Orient goals on Saturday and hitting the post with a trademark strike, the O`s winger seems set to return to form.
Gillingham Team News:
Brent Sancho and Kelvin Jack are both unavailable for the trip to Brisbane Road. The Trinidad and Tobago internationals are both long term absentees through injury. However, Ronnie Jepson will be encouraged by the return of Ian Cox and striker Gary Mulligan whilst Lee Crofts makes his 100th appearance for the Gills.
Gillingham lost 4-1 in their previous game at Oldham so Jepson could yet make changes as his side look to bounce back. O’s fans will be particularly keen to give former Southend men, Duncan Jupp and Mark Bentley a rather warm welcome to E10.
Player to watch: Matthew Jarvis
Twenty year old Matthew Jarvis has been linked in recent days with a move to either Arsenal or Tottenham and the diminutive winger will be hoping to impress the scouts once again at Brisbane Road. Jarvis has scored three times so far this season from midfield and although he may only stand at 5`8, his pace and trickery have left League One defences bamboozled on more than one occasion.
Jarvis graduated from Gillingham`s youth academy and won their young player of the year award as well as the award for goal of the season.
Match Facts & Stats
This is the 47th league meeting between the two sides with Orient winning on eighteen occasions to Gillingham`s sixteen.
The last meeting at Brisbane Road saw the Gills take all three points thanks to a 1-0 win on New Year`s Day in 1996. Leo Fortune-West scored the only goal of the game whilst Orient managed to grab a point in the return fixture with Andy Arnott notching a late goal for the O`s.
The Gills are currently 16th in League One with 13 points from their opening ten games.
Gillingham have won just once on the road this season with one draw and three defeats. The Gills have not kept a clean sheet in their last fourteen games.
Matt Jarvis and Michael Flynn are top scorers at the club with three goals apiece.
Iain Williamson from Berkshire will referee tonight`s game.
In his seven games so far he has awarded 29 yellow cards and two reds.
Mr Williamson last appeared in an O`s game when Shrewsbury stole all three points at Brisbane Road thanks to a 1-0 win last August.
Alan Knill the Rotherham manager said that his side`s triumph at Brisbane Road was down to good fortune. True, Rotherham did not deserve to take all three points, but whilst Orient continue to give away goals as if they were candy at Christmas, they will face an uphill struggle to retain their League One status.
The O`s will need to tighten up at the back and the return of John Mackie should instil some spirit in a side that has been lacking any real drive in recent weeks. Gillingham have not kept a clean sheet since Good Friday and Orient will be hoping to prolong that rather unenviable run.
It`s a game that Orient can win but to do so they must cut out the individual mistakes that have so far been so costly. Glyn Garner and Clayton Fortune will be particularly aware that another mistake could ultimately prove fatal and cost them a place in the starting eleven.
Orient 2-1 Gills