Leyton Orient begin their 2012/2013 League One campaign with an away trip to face Tranmere Rovers. Here we preview the action ahead of Saturday’s game:
After flirting with relegation half -way through last season under Les Parry, Ronnie Moore returned to the club in March and guided Tranmere to a mid-table finish with 56 points. Like Orient, Tranmere began their season on Tuesday night with a League Cup tie against Chesterfield that went into extra time. The game remained goalless in ninety minutes. Cole Stockton put Rovers ahead in extra time but they were soon pegged back. Rovers would go on to progress to the second round thanks to a goal from substitute Abdulai Bell-Baggie.
Before the opening cup match against Chesterfield, Tranmere faced a defensive crisis. 19 year-old defender Ben Gibson was signed on loan from Middlesbrough and he will compete for a starting spot against the O’s. Experienced centre-back Ian Goodison is out of action until October as he will undergo knee surgery. Fellow defenders Mark McChrystal and Paul Black are also unavailable due to groin and thigh injuries respectively. However the defensive problems are eased slightly by the return of Ash Taylor after missing the League Cup match due to international duty with the Wales Under-21 squad. Jake Cassidy also linked up with Wales Under-21s and he will provide a boost to Ronnie Moore’s attacking options, which are depleted as striker Adam McGurk is currently suffering with a thigh injury.
Orient’s cup clash against Charlton went all the way to penalties, meaning neither the O’s nor Rovers had an easy start to the season. Orient got the better of the Addicks on penalties and they were rewarded with a second round trip to Tranmere’s near neighbours Everton.
Russell Slade may have close to a full squad to choose from for Saturday’s match. Nathan Clarke’s substitution in midweek was only precautionary, meaning he will be available for selection. Jamie Jones and Lee Butcher were the only players to miss the Charlton match through injury and while Butcher remains on the treatment table, Jones could be in line for a return. It is hoped that Jones will be able to train today (Friday) and if all goes well he could replace Ryan Allsop, who deputised in the League Cup match.
There are currently two ex-Tranmere players in the Leyton Orient squad. Ben Chorley made the switch from Prenton Park to Brisbane Road in 2009 after spending two seasons with Rovers, making 89 appearances. Ryan Brunt had a short loan spell with Tranmere during the second half of last season. He scored one goal in 15 appearances before returning to Stoke City.
Orient have won just one of the last five meetings between the two clubs, with their last win coming away from home in December 2010. Stepehen Dawson and Scott McGleish scored the goals that sealed a 1-2 win. The O’s were not always so successful at Prenton Park. They suffered three 3-0 defeats in consecutive seasons on away trips to Tranmere from the 1988/89 season to the 1990/91 campaign. Orient did not play Tranmere again until 2006 and they were beaten by a familiar 3-0 by the home side. Last season Tranmere won both matches against the O’s.
The referee for this fixture will be Geoff Eltringham. Last season he took charge of 39 matches, in which he showed five red cards and 95 yellow. Paul Marsden, Kevin Mattocks are the assistant referees and Peter Gooch will the fourth official.