Date: 13th January 2006 at 5:00pm
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Northampton Town come to London for the second consecutive weekend hoping for a better result than their 4-1 defeat at Crystal Palace last Saturday. Northampton currently sit in 7th place and 7 points behind the O’s, though they do have a game in hand.

Orient will have to put their cup exploits to one side as the real business of getting promotion starts to reach the deep end. Orient have yet to play any of the current top 7 at Brisbane Road this season, and will see this as a great opportunity to put 10 points between their visitors and themselves.

Northampton were one of the pre-season favourites for the title, and recent form suggests that the Cobblers are well equipped for a promotion push. Having missed out in the Play-off semi finals for the previous two years, Cobblers fans will be hoping that their side can go all the way this year.

For Orient, this game represents an opportunity to really show the rest of the division they mean business. Martin Ling’s men have won 5 of their last 6 games, and are starting to show the form that we all know they have long been capable of. Tomorrow represents a tough task, but if Orient can win it will give them some sort of breathing space and increase the pressure on the three teams above.

Leyton Orient Team News:

Orient will have Lee Steele back from injury after the striker was deemed to have recovered sufficiently to take a place on the bench. Steele had been sidelined with a hamstring injury which he picked up at Wycombe during the 4-2 defeat.

Player to watch: John Mackie

John Mackie was an inspiration to all those around him at Craven Cottage last Sunday. Since being made captain, Mackie has reached a new level in his performances and has inspired a new found confidence in the side. He will have to be at his very best to repel the Cobblers attack which boasts two of League Two’s best forwards.

Northampton Town Team News:

Northampton look set to welcome back Martin Smith from injury, though they will be without Ashley Westwood, David Rowson and Gavin Johnson. New signing Jason Lee who joined from Boston United earlier in the week goes straight into the first team squad. Former Orient players David Hunt, Josh Low and Scott McGleish are all in line for place in the starting eleven.

Player to watch: Scott McGleish

Scott McGleish has continued to score goals wherever he has played. The former Orient striker has hit the net 15 times this season and is enjoying a good partnership with fellow hitman Andy Kirk. McGleish was recently named ‘Powerade Player Of The Month’ for League Two.

Supplying the ammunition for McGleish and Kirk will be the ever dangerous Josh Low who has a habit of scoring against Orient. Northampton also pose a threat through Eoin Jess and Martin Smith, two very creative midfield players that will test Orient all afternoon.

Match Facts & Stats

This is the 65th league meeting between the teams, with Northampton edging Orient on victories by 24 to 23. Last season, Orient ran out 3-2 winners with a last minute strike from Lee Steele after the Cobblers had come back from 2-0 to level at 2-2.

Match Prediction:

This is going to be a really tough game for the O’s but one that they have to win to underline their promotion credentials. It is absolutely imperative that Orient put their cup exploits to the very back of their minds.

Last week’s win at Fulham was a marvellous day for the club and all involved, but in the long term, this game is far more important to Orient’s season. A victory tommorow would bolster the confidence inside the club once again, and that can never be a bad thing. With two massive games against Northampton and Wrexham coming up,the O’s must maintain their focus in the league if they are to achieve promotion.

With Orient’s style of passing and movenment and Northampton’s style of expansive and attacking football, it should make for an intriguing game of football. Northampton have only lost once on the road this season in League Two but if Orient play to their potential then surely they will take the three points and carry on their promotion push.