The wait is finally over. Leyton Orient start the season at home for the first time since the opening day of the 2008/09 campaign. The O’s will host the 2013/14 League Two Champions Chesterfield, and the newly promoted side will be keen to mark their return to the third tier with a victory. Here we preview Saturday’s game:
[textmarker color=”DE0000″ type=”background color”]Leyton Orient[/textmarker]
While the record breaking start to last season will be very difficult to replicate this term Russell Slade will be desperate to ensure that his side get off to a good start. Expectations are higher than ever at Brisbane Road. Orient are not only going into the new season off the back of a strong 2013/14 campaign, the takeover of the club by Francesco Becchetti and the increased budget means that pressure will be on this term. The seven new signings have strengthened the squad and with just two regular first team players departing over the summer, many feel that Orient will do well this season.
The O’s were unbeaten throughout their pre-season, though they only managed two victories, narrowly beating Dartford and Northampton Town. Their last two results were draws against Championship opposition in QPR and Ipswich Town. An Orient XI also drew against Farnboroough on Monday night.
Russell Slade could be without Scott Cuthbert for the first game of the season as the Scotsman has been out of action due to a thigh injury. Elliot Omozusi is likely to take Cuthbert’s place at right back, paving the way for Shane Lowry to make his debut at left back.
However, some of the other new signings may miss out due to a lack of match fitness. Jobi McAnuff played 45 minutes against Ipswich last Saturday, while Jay Simpson also came off the bench in that match and featured against Farnborough on Monday night. Darius Henderson is yet to play in an Orient shirt, therefore he is least likely to be included at this stage. While they may be in the matchday squad, it seems very unlikely that all three will start.
Assuming McAnuff is not considered to be ready to start, Bradley Pritchard will probably play on the right side of midfield, having started in that role in the last three friendlies. Adam Legzdins looks set to start the season as Orient’s first choice in goal ahead of Gary Woods.
Given the fitness concerns over Henderson and Simpson, Russell Slade will probably stick with the partnership of Mooney and Lisbie in the hope that they can recapture the form they enjoyed at the start of last season. However, Chris Dagnall presented a strong case for his inclusion during pre-season and he may have forced his way into the starting lineup.
[textmarker color=”2D00C2″ type=”background color”]Chesterfield[/textmarker]
Top scorer: Marc Richards/Gary Roberts 9 League Two: 1st FA Cup: 2nd round League Cup: 1st round Cards: 63 Yellow 7 Red
Chesterfield are back in League One after two seasons away and they return as Champions of League Two. Like the O’s, Paul Cook’s side enjoyed a fantastic start to the league season, remaining unbeaten in their first eight games, winning seven. They then faltered as they went without a victory in their next seven games and the promotion contenders stuttered again at the very start of the New Year, slipping to their season low of fifth place. However, Cook soon re-established his team as league leaders, and three draws and five wins from their last eight saw them lift the League Two trophy with 84 points.
They were the top scorers in League Two last term with 71 goals. They also boasted a formidable home record, losing a league game in front of their own fans on just two occasions.
The Spireites also made it to Wembley last term as they reached the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. They were winners of the competition as recently as 2012, but on this occasion they lost 3-1 to Peterborough.
In: Romuald Boco (Free), Daniel Johnson (Aston Villa, Loan), Daniel Jones (Port Vale, Free), Charlie Raglan(FC United of Manchester)
Out: Jamie Devitt (Morecambe), Marc Richards (Northampton), Nathan Smith (Yeovil), Matty Brown (Chester FC), Jacob Harvey (FC United of Manchester), Jacob Hazel
The Spireites began pre-season with a draw against Buxton, but they then claimed a comfortable 4-1 win against Matlock Town. Defeats to Shrewsbury Town and Lincoln followed, however Paul Cook’s side also thrashed Alfreton Town 5-1. In their penultimate warm up they drew 2-2 against Leeds United. Chesterfield signed off with an impressive 3-1 win over Aston Villa, completing their preparations for the new season.
Last lineup: Lee; Jones (Maguire 90′), Evatt (c) (Onovwigun 89′), Hird (Gardner 72′), Darikwa; Morsy (Clark 86′), Ryan (Dawes 86′), Humphreys (Cooper 54′), Roberts (Raglan 76′), Boco (O’Shea 54′); Gnanduillet (Doyle 72′)
Ollie Banks and Drew Talbot are unavailable for the first game of the season. Banks is still recovering from a foot injury while Talbot is a longer term concern due to a groin injury.
Despite only joining the club yesterday, new duo Romuald Boco and Daniel Johnson could be included immediately.
Jay O’Shea and Dan Gardner are both doubtful for the match against the O’s. However, goalkeeper Aaron Chapmann returned from injury recently and he could be named as a substitute on Saturday.
The last meeting between the two teams was in January 2012 at Brisbane Road. The match ended in a 1-1 draw after Chesterfield cancelled out a first half strike from David Mooney.
Orient’s last home win over the Spireites took place in April 2001. Dave McGhee gave the O’s the lead early in the second half before Carl Griffiths sealed the win from the penalty spot.
Chesterfield have failed to beat the O’s in their last seven attempts. Their last away win against Orient was way back in January 1979 when they won 2-1 in the league cup.
[textmarker color=”000000″ type=”background color”]Match Officials[/textmarker]
Referee: Michael Bull
Assistants: Nicholas Kinseley and Mark Mellor
Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear