Leyton Orient will be hoping to end their losing run when they travel to face table-topping Aldershot Town this weekend. Here we preview Saturday’s game:
National League: 5th FA Cup: 4th Q Round FA Trophy: 1st Round Top scorer: Scott Rendell 12
Last term, Gary Waddock led Aldershot to a fifth-place finish following a stunning run of form during the second half of the season. From Boxing Day onwards, the Shots lost just one game in 21 and they managed 13 wins during that time, as they secured a place in the National League play-offs.
They met Tranmere Rovers in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. Aldershot lost the first leg at the Recreation Ground by three goals to nil and only managed a 2-2 draw in the return leg at Prenton Park.
Shaun Okojie (Corinthian Casuals), Adam McDonnell (Ipswich Town, Loan), Bobby-Joe Taylor (Maidstone), Chris Arthur (Crawley Town), James Rowe (Cheltenham Town), Kodi Lyons-Foster (Bristol City), Will De Havilland (Wycombe Wanderers, Loan), Fabien Robert (Forest Green Rover, Loan)
Anthony Straker (Bath City), Idris Kanu (Peterborough, Undisclosed), Liam Bellamy
National League: 1st Top scorer: Shamir Fenelon 4
Aldershot Town are the current National League leaders as Garry Waddock’s side have made a strong start to the 2017/18 season.
They won their opening three games which included a 6-0 demolition of Guiseley, and they remained unbeaten for four matches after being held to a draw by Maidstone.
So far the Shots have only lost three games. They suffered defeats at Boreham Wood and lost home games against Chester and Dover Athletic.
Waddock’ men go into the game against the O’s having won three of their last four games following a victory at Gateshead last Saturday.
Fabien Robert scored the only goal of the game seven minutes from time to send the Shots top.
Cole; Alexander, Fowler, Reynolds, Arthur; Kellermann, Gallagher, McDonnell, Rowe; Rendell, McClure
Wrightman, Smith, Lyons-Foster (Arthur 75′), Oyeleke (Kellermann 75′), Robert (McClure 62′)
Like the O’s, Aldershot have a number of injury problems currently. Shots boss Gary Waddock could be without six players ahead of Saturday’s game.
Shamir Fenelon is on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, while Bobby Joe-Taylor is also unlikely to feature due to an ankle injury.
Bernard Mensah is set to miss the match against Orient due to a tendon problem and Will Evans is recovering from a broken toe.
Nick Arnold suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which will keep him on the sidelines until March.
However, Wycombe Wanderers loanee Will de Havilland has a chance of recovering from his knee injury in time to feature on Saturday.
Orient suffered their third straight defeat in the early kick-off last Saturday, as Hartlepool came from behind to take all three points on the long trip back to the North East.
Midway through the first-half, Jobi McAnuff put Orient in front. Josh Koroma slipped a through ball to David Mooney who forced a save from Scott Loach. However, the Hartlepool keeper could only parry the ball and the rebound fell nicely for McAnuff, who made no mistake in putting the ball into the net.
The O’s enjoyed the better of the majority of the first-half but they had not managed to add to their lead. That lack of ruthlessness came back to bite the home side when Hartlepool equalised just before the break. Orient’s failure to clear the danger from the visitors’ free-kick led to Jonathan Franks firing home the leveller.
Early in the second-half, the Pools struck again from another set-piece. The O’s failed to deal with a Nicky Deverdics free-kick and Rhys Oates nodded the ball into Charlie Grainger’s net.
From then on, Steve Davis’s side struggled to break down a resolute Hartlepool and the away side held on to secure the win.
Caprice Sendles-White Happe Widdowson
Koroma Mooney McAnuff
Sargeant, Clark, Ochieng (Clay 81′), Boco (Koroma 86′), Dalby (Mooney 65′)
To make matters worse, Orient’s already considerable injury list was added to during the defeat against Hartlepool.
David Mooney picked up a shoulder injury in the first-half and eventually had to be substituted during the second half. The Irishman has damaged a ligament in his shoulder, however, Davis has stated that Mooney wants to play and has half a chance of featuring.
Craig Clay also went off ten minutes before time with a tight hamstring, but he was back in training towards the end of the week and he is set to be available this weekend.
Steve Davis’s selection options could be boosted by three more players returning to fitness.
James Dayton has missed the last two games due to a hamstring problem, but he is now back in training and is thought to be fit enough for selection.
Josh Coulson has also been on the sidelines for the last couple of games with a groin injury. However, it was hoped that he would be fit enough to return to training on Friday. Davis described him as being 90 percent fit and therefore he could be in contention.
Christian Scales returned from his loan spell at Harlow Town because of injury, but he too is back training.
There are, however, still a number of injury problems in the O’s squad.
Matt Harrold will miss the trip to Aldershot due to a calf strain, and Aron Pollock is still out with a hamstring injury.
The extent of George Elokobi’s hamstring injury was also revealed this week. The 31-year-old will require surgery next week and he will be out of action for somewhere between three to four months.
Elokobi joins Charlie Lee as a long-term injury concern. The Orient captain has undergone surgery for his serious knee injury.
Davis and Martin Ling have moved to reinforce the squad this week. James Brophy arrived on a three-month loan deal from Swindon Town and the 23-year-old left winger will be hoping to make his Orient debut at the Recreation Ground.
Caprice Coulson Sendles-White Widdowson
Dayton Boco McAnuff
Saturday’s game will be the first competitive meeting between Leyton Orient and Aldershot Town.
The two sides’ met in a friendly at the Recreation Ground in July 2008 and the O’s won the match thanks to a Ryan Jarvis goal.
Orient played the club under their former guise Aldershot FC on 47 occasions, winning 14, drawing 15, and losing 18 games.
The teams last played each other during the 1988/89 season in a League Cup tie. The O’s won the first leg 2-0 at Brisbane Road and the second leg ended in a goalless draw at the Recreation Ground, meaning Orient progressed.
Orient won the last league match between the sides. They claimed a 2-1 win away from home.
Aldershot’s last home victory over Orient was in January 1984. The Shots won 3-1 in the second leg of a League Cup tie.
Daniel Bonneywell & Daniel Simpson