Leyton Orient will be hoping to avoid an upset in front of the ESPN cameras, as they face Blue Square Bet Premier side Alfreton Town in the Second Round of the FA Cup. The O’s have been on a good run of late but they will be well aware of the potential problems that a lower league side can cause in the cup. Here we preview Sunday’s action:
Top scorer: Paul Clayton 8 Blue Square Bet Premier: 12th
Alfreton Town have the opportunity to make history when they face Leyton Orient on Sunday. Alfreton have never reached the third round of the FA Cup and they have never managed to defeat league opposition so they have the chance to achieve both. The Reds go in to the game on the back of a FA Trophy defeat to Kidderminster Harriers, but Nicky Law’s side are on a three game unbeaten run in the league with victories against Newport and Woking and a draw against Hyde. They are currently in their highest league position ever, sitting in 12th place in the Blue Square Bet Premier league.
Alfreton defeated Gateshead in the fourth qualifying round to make it through to the First Round of the FA Cup. They managed to defeat Wrexham by 4 goals to 2 to set up this Second Round tie with Leyton Orient.
Top scorer Paul Clayton will have to watched carefully as the striker is currently in fine from with 4 goals from his last 4 games.
Manager Nicky Law has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from for the FA Cup clash with the O’s. Tom Denton has been recalled from Worksop Town. The striker has been in fine form for Worksop, scoring 11 goals in 11 games.
Anthony Wilson will also be available for selection as his loan spell with North Ferriby United ends on Saturday.
Defensive duo Ross Killock and Leigh Franks should also be fit after recovering from injuries.
Russell Slade has managed to get Orient through a run of bad results and they are now in great form with five victories in their last five games. They rounded off a fantastic month for the club with a win over Preston in difficult conditions. Mathieu Baudry opened the scoring for the O’s before Kevin Lisbie added a second after the break. Lisbie has been in good goalscoring form since returning from injury, with 5 goals in his last 5 games.
Orient defeated non-league opposition in the previous round, beating Gloucester City by two goals to nil. The O’s will be hoping to avoid a second round defeat, as last term they did not make it beyond this stage as they were eliminated by Gillingham.
Leyton Orient will be without Gary Sawyer after he received his fifth yellow card of the season against Preston last week. Therefore, he will serve a one-match ban against Alfreton Town. Fulham loanee Alex smith would have been a likely candidate to replace Sawyer, but the Premier League club have not given their permission for Smith to feature for the O’s in the FA Cup.
Nathan Clarke missed the victory over Preston with an ankle injury and the Orient captain remains doubtful for Sunday’s game. Lee Butcher is the only other player ruled out through injury. The former Tottenham goalkeeper is still recovering from the serious knee injury that he sustained last season.
Sawyer’s absence will most likely mean that Leon McSweeney will return to the starting lineup at left back. Much of McSweeney’s Leyton Orient career has seen him play at right back, but last season the Irishman did fill in at left back on a few occasions.
Clarke was replaced by Mathieu Baudry last week, and after a fine performance and a goal the French defender is likely to keep his place. Scott Cuthbert returned to the bench last week and he continued his recovery from his hamstring injury by playing in mid-week. Although he would provide another option in the centre of defence, he will probably continue on the bench for now.
Last time out in the FA Cup, Russell Slade introduced some of his fringe players to get some playing time. However, with no fixture in the past week along with the prospect of tougher opposition, it is likely that the manager will name a similar lineup to the team that started against Preston.