Orient take on Rotherham in a relegation clash after just nine games of the season. It seems ridiculous to place such an importance on a game so early in the season, but with the O`s not having won in their last six games, the team that were ten points behind them at the start of the season, could just be one win away from the O`s should they win on Saturday.
Orient have been dire away from home this season but there is encouragement for Martin Ling where Brisbane Road is concerned. The O`s turned in a superb performance last time out against Brentford where only a cruel equaliser late on gave the Bees a share of the spoils. Having lost just once at home since January, Ling will know that his side are more than capable of pulling off a result against a side that was relegated from the Championship last season.
Ling will also be aware that there cannot be a repeat of last Saturday`s performance, a game that saw Orient embarrassed, outfought, outplayed and out muscled. It is inevitable that there will be changes after last week`s debacle, but Ling will have to address the worrying lack of pace in the side with Shane Tudor absent once again.
Despite being bottom of the league, Rotherham have picked up eleven points so far and will provide stiff opposition. The Miller have a superb record against the O`s and Alan Knill`s side will be more than confident of taking all three points.
Miller`s manager Alan Knill is expecting a tough game despite Orient`s recent poor form. “This is a tough league as Orient are finding out but I have read reports about them while I saw them at Tranmere and they pass the ball about well. Brisbane Road has always been a tough place to visit and I don’t think it will be any different tomorrow”.
Martin Ling still expects his side to pick up points in League One, but knows a vast improvement is needed if they are to succeed. “We just have to get back to basics and work on the simple parts of the game. If we get eight or nine players performing on the day then I still think we can get some positive results. If we play to our potential like we did last season we will pick up the points in League One.’
Leyton Orient Team News:
Orient will welcome Michael Simpson and Glyn Garner back to the side after the duo recovered from injury and illness respectively. Craig Easton is still absent with a groin complaint whilst John Mackie is suspended after his red card at Brighton last weekend. Shane Tudor is also missing as the winger has just undergone an operation on his troublesome ankle injury.
Efe Echanomi is still continuing his comeback from a broken leg whilst young winger Derek Duncan is currently on loan at Lewes.
Martin Ling must decide whether to recall Justin Miller to the starting line up and shift Adam Tann to central defence or whether to partner Tann with Brian Saah with Clayton Fortune missing out. Despite being relatively young, Saah has excelled so far this season and has been Orient`s most impressive defender so far this season.
In midfield, Adam Chambers is expected to continue with Michael Simpson rejoining the former Albion man in the centre. Donny Barnard will probably drop to the bench after an ineffective performance at the Withdean whilst Joe Keith and Wayne Corden look set to continue on the flanks. Keith has been particularly disappointing in recent weeks whilst Corden`s exploits last week were ended after just fifteen minutes as Ling replaced the winger as a result of Mackie`s sending off.
Lee Steele should start in attack alongside Gary Alexander despite the O`s top scorer being substituted at half time last weekend. Jabo Ibehre and Paul Connor look set for a place on the bench.
Player to watch: Gary Alexander
Gary Alexander is one of the few Orient players to have shown some passion in recent weeks and despite failing to hit the net since August 12th, the O`s number nine has been in fine form. Alexander`s touch, control and vision have come on superbly since he arrived at Brisbane Road whilst his work rate is absolutely incredible. With the team playing so poorly of late, Alexander has stood out as the one player that is prepared to stand up and fight. However, Gary will be aware that strikers are judged on their goals ratio and Alexander will have to improve in front of goal if Orient are to claim anything from this match.
Rotherham United Team News:
After an impressive display against Norwich City in the Carling Cup, Alan Knill could stick with the same side that came so close to embarrassing their Championship visitors. Martin Woods and the highly influential Michael Keane both gave excellent performances in midweek and could start once again with Eugen Bopp and former Liverpool man, Richie Partridge, missing out.
Dave Hibbert missed the game with the Canaries with an injured nose but the striker could return to partner Will Hoskins in attack. However, if Hibbert is not deemed fit enough by the Millers, youngster Ryan Taylor will continue in attack.
The Millers have two absentees with striker Delroy Facey missing with an ankle injury whilst Northern Ireland international Colin Murdock has a hernia problem.
Player to watch: Will Hoskins
Will Hoskins has scored five times in seven starts so far for the Millers and the England Under-20 striker will be looking to fire United to victory at Brisbane Road. Hoskins is the top scorer at Millmoor this term with several other players having scored once. Hoskins joined Rotherham at youth level and has worked his way through the set up to establish himself as the United number 10. Hoskins has good pace and can finish with either foot.
Match Facts & Stats
Orient have an appalling record against Rotherham with the O`s winning just 13 of the 54 league meetings having tasted defeat on 25 occasions.
The last fixture between the two was in March 2000 with United winning 1-0 at Brisbane Road thanks to a Darren Garner strike.
Orient`s last win against the Millers came in October 1999 with the O`s managing a rare victory at Millmoor thanks to no other than Orient`s current manager, Martin Ling. However, that victory was Orient`s first against Rotherham since 1989 when the O`s triumphed 3-1 at Brisbane Road with Kevin Campbell scoring twice and Alan Comfort also contributing.
Rotherham have not tasted defeat in E10 in their last seven outings, however, the Millers will remember that it was Orient that knocked them out in the Play-off Semi final in 1999 after the O`s won on penalties at Millmoor following a 0-0 draw.
The Millers were relegated last season from the Championship and had a ten point penalty imposed on them at the start of the season due to falling into administration. However, Alan Knill`s side have had a solid start to the season gathering 11 points from their opening nine games. However, the Millers still lie at the foot of the table as they had to overcome the ten point penalty which means that they currently have just one point.
Mike Thorpe from Sussex will be in charge of the game. In his five games so far this season, Mr Thorpe has produced 14 yellow cards.
The Sussex official last referred an O`s game at the start of last season with Orient defeating Macclesfield 2-1 on the opening day of the season at Brisbane Road.
After their last two performances, Orient will need no reminding that they need to step up a level. There can be no more rhetoric from Martin Ling suggesting that the O`s need to ‘put their best foot forward`, after all how many feet do Orient really have? The words have empty so far as the players have failed to deliver. Yet, this time the O`s are at home, a place where they have played some excellent football at times this season and where only Swansea managed to sneak a rather fortuitous win.
Rotherham are fighting for their lives and will give Orient a tough test, but with two home games in four days, the importance of six points cannot be lost on anybody. The O`s need to win this game, it really is as simple as that.
Orient 1-3 Millers