Leyton Orient will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at Tranmere by recording a home win, but Stevenage will provide a difficult test. Here we preview the action ahead of Tuesday’s game:
After a good win against Charlton a week ago in the League Cup, Orient suffered a comprehensive defeat against Tranmere on Saturday. The O’s were one goal down at half-time, and a brace from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro put the game beyond the visitors. Michael Symes scored a consolation goal from the spot but overall the away side’s performance was poor. They had just 25% possession and managed just two shots on target against Rovers.
Orient were dealt a blow when Scott Cuthbert limped off the pitch on Saturday. He is thought to have suffered a hamstring injury, the same problem that he suffered at Charlton last season. The full extent of the injury is yet to be determined, however it is very likely that he will miss the game against Stevenage. Ben Chorley replaced him on Saturday and so he will probably lineup alongside Orient captain Nathan Clarke in the centre of defence. Jamie Jones made his return from injury against Tranmere therefore Ryan Allsop will be on the bench for tomorrow night’s clash. Lee Butcher remains out with a knee injury.
Top scorer: Scott Laird 9 League One: 6th FA Cup: 5th round League Cup: 1st round Cards: 65 Yellow 4 Red
After three-and-a-half years the Graham Westley era came to an end in January as the Stevenage boss made the switch to Deepdale. His first game in charge of Preston was against Orient and the O’s recorded a two-nil win away from home. Westley’s difficulties at Preston have been well documented but he has sought to cure those problems by singing Scott Laird and John Mousinho from his old club over the summer. Chris Beardsley, Michael Bostwick and Joel Byrom have also left Broadhall Way, along with ten others.
Therefore this season will be one of transition for ‘Boro’ as new manager Gary Smith looks to shape his side. He has brought twelve players in over the close-season including James Dunne from Exeter, Filipe Morais from Oldham and Anthony Grant from Southend. A change of style on the pitch seems likely too, with a move away from the long-ball football of last term.
Stevenage are undefeated so far this season having progressed to the second round of the League Cup by defeating AFC Wimbledon by three goals to one, and they followed that up with a one all draw against Carlisle on Saturday. Carlisle took the lead in the 73rd minute but substitute Robin Shroot capitalised on a mistake by Carlisle goalkeeper Adam Collin to earn Stevenage a point.
After rescuing a draw, Shroot may have earned a starting spot after Stevenage boss Gary Smith admitted “He’s made a serious push for a starting shirt after that,”. Centre back Jon Ashton is likely to miss out as he is still recovering from injury, meaning Mark Roberts will probably be partnered in defence by Bondz N’Gala.
There have been very few meetings between the two sides, before last season the only other fixture was in the FA Cup in 1996, with Stevenage winning at Brisbane Road. When Orient made the trip to Stevenage in January both teams had a man sent off. Ben Chorley was dismissed on 46 minutes and ‘Boro’ substitute Chuks Aneke spent just eight minutes on the pitch as he received a red card with 15 minutes to go. On that day the two sides were separated by a great strike from Orient loanee Lee Cook.
Who is your key player for tomorrow’s game?
Boro’s key man is likely to be Luke Freeman. He may be young, but the Arsenal graduate has already shown in his short time with the club that he’s capable of unlocking defences or scoring spectacular goals.