Both Leyton Orient and Barnet failed to win their league fixtures at the weekend therefore the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy may provide distraction. Here we preview Tuesday night’s London derby:
Leyton Orient lost their third home match of the season on Saturday at the hands of Sheffield United. Nick Blackman’s goal from 25 yards proved to be the difference between the two sides. The loss made it two consecutive home defeats for the O’s but Russell Slade will see the visit of Barnet as a prime opportunity to improve their home form.
Scott Cuthbert (hamstring), Lee Butcher (knee) and Jamie Jones (shoulder) remain on the sidelines. They are joined by Kevin Lisbie who suffered a pulled hamstring in the defeat against Sheffield United on Saturday. The experienced striker is likely to be out of action for the next few weeks.
The O’s will also be without Ben Chorley through suspension, as he collected his fifth yellow card of the season against the Blades.
Russell Slade may use the tie against Barnet as an opportunity to rest some of his key players, however his scope for change will be limited. Rules for the competition prevent wholesale changes being made to the team. The injury to Scott Cuthbert and Ben Chorley’s suspension pretty much guarantees Mathieu Baudry a place in the starting line-up. Lloyd James is also likely to play some part along with other fringe players such as Moses Odubajo and Marc Laird. This match would also be a good opportunity to give promising youngsters Billy Lobjoit and Afolabi Obafemi some first-team action. However the limit of five substitutes limits Russell Slade’s options further.
Top scorer: Izale McLeod 18 League Two: 22nd FA Cup: 1st Round League Cup: 2nd Round Cards: 70 Yellow 3 Red
Barnet have avoided relegation from the Football League on the final day in each of the last three seasons. Lawrie Sanchez went into last season on a high after saving the Bees from relegation in 2010/2011, however things started badly with 10 defeats in their first 16 games. The new year brought improved form with 4 consecutive wins but one win in their next 16 matches prompted Barnet to sack Sanchez with just three games to go. Martin Allen returned to Underhill for his third spell in charge with the objective to keep Barnet up. Despite losing his first game in charge a resounding 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon meant that their relegation fight would go down to the wire. A 2-1 win over Burton Albion was enough to secure League Two safety at the expense of Hereford.
However, the turbulence for Barnet did not end there. Martin Allen left the club at the end of the season and subsequently took charge of Gillingham, leaving a void that was eventually filled by Mark Robson who accepted his first managerial role. The Bees are also involved in an ongoing dispute with the local council over the future of Underhill.
Despite Barnet’s woes, they did have a great run in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season, defeating Colchester, Gillingham, Cheltenham and Brentford (on penalties) to reach the Southern Section Area final. They managed a 1-1 draw against Swindon at Underhill but lost by a single goal in the second leg.
Top scorer: Jake Hyde 3 League Two: 24th FA Cup: N/A League Cup: 1st Round Cards: 13 Yellow 1 Red
There were a few departures over the close season but the biggest loss was the departure of last term’s top goalscorer Izale McLeod. The Bees have made a number of new signings over the summer including ex-West Ham foursome Sam Cowler, Jordan Brown, Oliver Lee and Ahmed Abdulla. Meanwhile, Jon Nurse (Dag & Red), Jonathan Fortune (Exeter), Graham Stack (Hibernian) and John Oster (Doncaster) provide experience. Sierra Leone international Ishmail Kamara and ex-Fulham and Holland striker Collins John are the latest new arrivals at Underhill.
Despite the changes in personnel, Barnet have brought their poor form of recent campaigns into the new season. The Bees are currently languishing at the bottom of League Two in 24th place and they are without a win in their opening 11 games, managing three draws. It appeared as if Barnet would claim their first win at Southend on Saturday. Goals from Ricky Holmes and Jake Hyde shortly after the break gave the Bees a two goal lead, but a Freddie Eastwood penalty got the Shrimpers back in the game and an 84th minute strike from Kevan Hurst salvaged a point for Southend. Barnet have lost all of their other away games so far this season.
Barnet manager Mark Robson is still waiting to hand former Fulham striker Collins John his debut as the club are yet to receive international clearance on the transfer. Danny Senda and Steve Kabba are still out of action after they suffered serious knee injuries last season. Striker Ishmail Kamara is unlikely to feature against the O’s as he is still suffering from a shoulder injury. Goalkeeper Liam O’Brien is yet to make his return from a hernia operation and he is doubtful for the match at Brisbane Road.
The two sides have not met for 6 seasons, with the last meeting coming in Orient’s promotion season of 2005/06.The last match between the teams was a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Road, but earlier in the season they had played out a thrilling game at Underhill that ended in a 2-3 win for the O’s. Barnet legend Giuliano Grazioli opened the scoring after just one minute, but Jabo Ibehre leveled the score 5 minutes from the break. Gary Alexander put Orient ahead on 75 minutes and he sealed the win with a 89 minute. However Grazioli responded with a second goal in stoppage time but it proved to be no more than a consolation goal. The O’s are unbeaten in their last five home matches against Barnet with two wins and three draws. Their last win against Barnet at Brisbane Road was in October 2000 as goals from Carl Griffiths, Matt Lockwood and Wim Walschaerts secured a 3-1 win. The two teams have been drawn together in the cup only once before, with Barnet winning the League Cup tie 5-1 over two legs.
Who is your key player for Tuesday’s game?
Ricky Holmes without a doubt. A bundle of quality, whose tricky wing-play and his creativity is key. Destined to play at a higher level.
Where do you think you will finish in League Two?
11 games and no win is no good. Ever the optimist, we will scrape 22nd… again!
How far do you think you will go in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy this season?
I think we will be defeated against Orient tomorrow. No repeat of last season’s heroics for us.
What is your impression of Leyton Orient?
My perception of Orient is a club with a good fanbase, but an average team and inconsistent (but good) manager Russell Slade. Don’t think a move to the Olympic Stadium will do the club any good (plus ridiculous name change proposal).