Orient return to Brisbane Road in an effort to save their season from being one of sheer embarrassment after another thrashing last weekend. Having failed to win since August 12th against Bournemouth, the O`s have lost eight out of their last ten, a statistic to make even the most blinkered of fans worry slightly.
However, the O`s have performed well at home in patches although a ninety minute performance has eluded Martin Ling`s side so far this campaign. The O`s were desperately unfortunate not to take a draw from the Rotherham game whilst Swansea sneaked a 1-0 win whilst rarely threatening the O`s goal. The point against Gillingham was exceptional whilst Orient are probably still rueing that late Sam Tillen strike that gave Brentford a share of the spoils at Brisbane Road.
The home form, whilst not exactly scintillating, has been ok and nothing more. Martin Ling will need his side to step up to the plate against a Chesterfield side that should provide a stern test. The visitors won their last away game at Brighton 2-1 and will now be looking to add three more points to their tally against an Orient side desperate for points.
Although the Spireites will provide tough opposition, it`s a game that the O`s really should take something from. The visitors are weak aerially in defence, particularly in the full back areas and Orient will be looking to expose that. Gary Alexander and Jabo Ibehre gave the Derbyshire outfit all sorts of problems last season and Martin Ling will be hoping to give Chesterfield another rough ride.
With Chesterfield deprived of Caleb Folan in attack, the visitors attack loses much of its pace and hence Orient could have a far more comfortable afternoon. However, much depends on how the O`s defence performs and as for that, well, your guess is as good as mine.
Chesterfield manager Roy McFarlane is looking forward to the game at Brisbane Road. Talking to the official website, McFarlane stressed that his side were confident ahead of the encounter.
“We did well down there last season and I thought we were the better team and we brought them back to Saltergate. Though after we had done the hard bit but lost the replay which was disappointing. They played really well that night and their forwards caused us problems, and they had a really good season and got promoted. This season they seem to be finding it a little tough adjusting to the division. So perhaps it’s a good time to be playing them”.
Although the Spireites are hampered by suspensions and injuries, McFarlane expects his side to cope and expects those that have been given their chance to impress.
“We don’t fear anybody in the division and our performances have been generally good. We know that we have to use the squad at certain stages through the season and Saturday is one of those stages where we need the squad. What it does do is to give players who have been on the fringe of things the opportunity to get on the pitch and show what they can do”.
Despite Orient`s wretched form, midfielder Daryl McMahon believes that the O`s have what it takes to beat Chesterfield at Brisbane Road.
‘We think we can beat anyone and I’m not sure how much the fact we got the better of Chesterfield last year will influence Saturday’s game. That FA Cup tie was 11 months ago and it was a different kettle of fish. But saying that, we’ll look to what we did on that day because we played really well when we beat them up there. We’ll analyse what we did to get the result and try to reproduce that on Saturday.’
Leyton Orient Team News:
Orient will give a debut to new loan signing Peter Till. The Birmingham City youngster has signed a month deal at Brisbane Road and could start on the left hand side of midfield. If Till does start, Daryl McMahon is likely to make way with Michael Simpson being joined in midfield by Adam Chambers and Wayne Corden.
Justin Miller could return after missing the 3-0 defeat at Blackpool last weekend but Adam Tann will be missing after his sending off last weekend. John Mackie should have recovered sufficiently from his knock which led to him being substituted at Bloomfield Road.
Martin Ling must also decide to stick or twist with his front pairing. Jabo Ibehre made a rare start alongside Gary Alexander last Saturday and it was those two that gave Chesterfield all sorts of problems at Saltergate last season. However, Ling may elect to field Lee Steele or Paul Connor after last weekend`s debacle at Blackpool.
Shane Tudor, Craig Easton and Efe Echanomi are still unavailable due to injury whilst Clayton Fortune could return to the first team squad.
Player to watch: Peter Till
Peter Till will be hoping to make a good first impression on his debut. The 21 year old will probably start on the left wing and Martin Ling will be looking for the youngster to utilise his pace, something Orient have been sorely lacking this season.
With so many O`s players lacking confidence, Ling will be hoping that the new blood will be able to inspire his players and lead them to their first win since August 12th.
Chesterfield Team News:
The Spireites will be without suspended duo Caleb Folan and Phil Picken. Folan`s absence is a huge blow for the visitors as the forward has managed seven goals so far this season and is the club`s leading scorer.
Paul Shaw is still at least a fortnight away from making a return to first team action so Colin Larkin should line up alongside Wayne Allison in attack.
Alan O`Hare and Shane Nicholson are ready to return to the side after their respective injuries.
Player to watch: Paul Hall
Paul Hall was the top scorer at Saltergate last season and has scored twice so far this campaign. The Jamaica international has had spells at Portsmouth, Coventry, Walsall and Rushden as well as loan spells at Bury and Sheffield United.
Hall`s remarkable record of 15 goals in 44 games from midfield proves that the winger will be ready to cause Orient all sorts of problems. With the O`s particularly vulnerable to the counter attack, Hall`s pace could be the key for the visitors as they aim for revenge after last season`s defeat.
Match Facts & Stats
This is just the 13th time that Orient have faced Chesterfield in the league. Both teams have won on four occasions with Orient winning the last league encounter by 2-0.
April 7th 2001 was the last time Chesterfield came to Brisbane Road for a league fixture and goals from Dave McGhee and Carl Griffiths ensured that the O`s took all three points. Chesterfield were promoted that season despite that defeat whilst the O`s reached the play off final only to lose to Blackpool.
The two sides did meet in last season`s F.A. Cup 1st round when Chesterfield managed a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Road. However, with the Spireites thinking that they had done all the hard work, someone forgot to tell that to the O`s as the East Londoners triumphed 2-1 thanks to John Mackie and a superb Shane Tudor finish.
Chesterfield are currently 11th in League One with 17 points from their 12 games.
The Spireites have won twice away from home this season whilst losing on three occasions and drawing once.
Caleb Folan is the top scorer for Chesterfield with seven goals but is suspended for the clash with Orient.
Grant Hegley from Hertfordshire will referee the game on Saturday. Hegley has a reputation that precedes him somewhat and his appointment is unlikely to be popular with either manager. Let`s just say that you were warned.
Having failed to score first in a game since the 1-1 draw with Brentford, it`s obvious that the O`s cannot afford to fall behind. With the side lacking in confidence, Chesterfield will probably try and get the early goal to deflate the home side and any chance of the O`s building up a head of steam.
Orient must score first and then try and press home their advantage. A goal will give the whole side a lift and the belief that they can compete in this division. Having beaten Chesterfield last season, the players know that they are more than capable of taking all three points on Saturday.
Much depends on how the O`s start and their ability to at least be level by the break. The habit of conceding goals just before half time is something that must be eradicated if they are to succeed. John Mackie will need to marshal his defence superbly whilst the midfield will have to offer the defence protection, something that has been missing in recent weeks.
It`s going to be a tight game against a good side, but Orient know they can defeat Chesterfield and this time they`ll do it once again.
Orient 2-1 Chesterfield