The BT Sport cameras will be at Brisbane Road as Leyton Orient host Hartlepool United. Here we preview Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off:
On Tuesday night, the O’s fell to their first home loss of the season and their second defeat in as many games.
Halifax Town struck early on, as 6ft 7 striker Tom Denton nodded the ball down for his strike partner Adam Morgan, who fired the ball into the Orient net on the turn.
The O’s responded to the setback by creating a series of good chances, but Steve Davis’s men were profligate in front of goal. Matt Harrold received a good cross from Jobi McAnuff, but he nodded the ball wide when he really should’ve at least hit the target with his header. Shortly after, Romauld Boco had a golden opportunity from a rebound after Jake Caprice tested the keeper, but the Benin international fired his shot high over the crossbar.
Just before the half-hour, Denton put the Shaymen two goals ahead. The colossal striker headed the ball past Grainger after getting on the end of a dangerous freekick. The visitors enjoyed a good spell following the goal too. Morgan could have easily added his second and Halifax’s third of the night. Grainger was later called upon and produced a good save to deny Denton.
McAnuff came agonizingly close to reducing the deficit just before the interval. The Jamaican international’s fine curling shot from 25 yards looked destined for the top corner but the ball rebounded off of the woodwork.
In the second half, Bonne and Mooney had opportunities to get on the scoresheet. Mooney replaced Boco around the hour mark. He could’ve pulled a goal back when a corner came to him at the far post, but he didn’t manage to get enough on his acrobatic effort.
A wet and miserable evening from an Orient perspective was complete when Joe Widdowson conceded a penalty. Matthew Kosylo stepped up and sent Grainger the wrong way to seal a 0-3 win for the Shaymen.
Caprice Sendles-White Clark Widdowson
Boco Clay Lawless McAnuff
Sargeant, Happe, Ochieng, Koroma (Harrold 86′), Mooney (Boco 61′)
Steve Davis was forced to make three changes on Tuesday night due to injury problems.
Regular central defensive pairing George Elokobi and Josh Coulson both missed out with hamstring and groin injuries respectively. They were replaced by Jamie Sendles-White and Michael Clark who made their first starts of the campaign.
Elokobi looks set to be out for somewhere between four and six weeks. Coulson is likely to be back sooner, however, he remains a doubt for the match against Hartlepool on Saturday.
James Dayton was also ruled out on Tuesday night due to a hamstring injury. He has a chance of being in contention but there are no guarantees that he will be fit in time for Saturday lunchtime.
Charlie Lee is the only other injury concern and he is set for a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery.
The disappointing performances in the last two outings could lead to opportunities for some under-used players to come into contention. Josh Koroma and Myles Judd could be two options to freshen up the side.
Caprice Sendles-White Clark Widdowson
Boco Mooney McAnuff
League Two: 23rd FA Cup: 2nd Round League Cup: 1st Round Top scorer: Pádraig Amond 14
Last term, Hartlepool were relegated after 96 years in the Football League. They finished in 23rd place in League Two with 46 points, ten points ahead of Orient but two points adrift of safety.
Craig Hignett was sacked in mid-January with Hartlepool sitting four points above the drop zone. Dave Jones took the reigns at Victoria Park but only lasted until April. Hartlepool’s battle for survival went down to the wire under the stewardship of defender and player-manager Matthew Bates.
Hartlepool managed to beat title contenders Doncaster Rovers on the final day of the season and at one point it looked like they had done enough to stay up. However, Mark O’Brien’s 89th-minute winner for Newport County saved the Welsh club and relegated Hartlepool.
Jake Cassidy (Guiseley), Luke George (Chester), Jack Munns (Cheltenham Town), Scott Loach (Notts County), Ryan Donaldson (Plymouth Argyle), Blair Adams (Hamilton Academical), Louis Laing (Inverness CT), Conor Newton (Cambridge United), Jonathan Franks (Ross County), Keith Watson (St Johnstone, Loan), Michael Ledger (Sunderland, Loan)
Nathan Thomas (Sheffield United, Undisclosed), Kieran Green (Gateshead), Lewis Alessandra (Notts County, Undisclosed), Trevor Carson (Motherwell, Undisclosed), Ben Dudzinski (Lowestoft Town), Connor Smith (York City), Jake Orrell (Spennymoor Town), James Martin (Dunston UTS), Brad Walker (Crewe Alexandra, Undisclosed), Josh Nearney (Whitley Bay), Jordan Richards (Darlington), Pádraig Amond (Newport County, Undisclosed), Rob Jones, Ben Pollock, Billy Paynter
National League: 17th Top scorer: Jonathan Franks 3
Like Orient, Hartlepool United experienced a takeover and the appointment of a new manager over the close season.
Craig Harrison’s reign didn’t get off to a good start as Hartlepool initially struggled to adjust to life in the National League.
Dover Athletic took all three points at Victoria Park on the opening day and that set the early tone as Hartlepool failed to win any of their first six games. Draws against Macclesfield Town and Chester were the best results that Hartlepool could muster during that run.
Their winless streak was eventually broken at the end of August as they claimed a 1-0 win at Guiseley. That sparked a mini winning streak as they went on to beat Maidstone United 3-1 and they then inflicted Dagenham & Redbridge’s first defeat of the season.
On Tuesday night, Hartlepool kept their unbeaten run going as they played out a goalless draw with Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.
Loach, Magnay, Watson, Ledger, Deverdics, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins, Rodney, Franks, Oates
Donnelly, Newton, Munns, Donaldson (Rodney 73′), Laing (Oates 85′)
Craig Harrison appears to have a number of injury and fitness concerns as he prepares his side for a trip to E10.
Connor Simpson is set to have a fitness test ahead of the match against the O’s. The 17-year-old was missing against Wrexham last time out due to a knee problem.
Luke George is likely to remain unavailable because of a hamstring problem. He is joined on the sidelines by Jake Cassidy, who faces another six weeks out due to a stress fracture in his foot.
Blair Adams and Scott Harrison are progressing with their recoveries from their respective groin and foot injuries, however, whether they will be fit in time to play a part in Saturday’s game remains to be seen.
Hartlepool were boosted by the return of Louis Lang in midweek. The 24-year-old defender had been out of contention due to a hamstring injury, however, he came off the bench and played the last five minutes plus stoppage time at the Racecourse Ground.
Last season, Leyton Orient won both fixtures against Hartlepool United.
When the sides met at Brisbane Road on Easter Monday, Orient came back from a goal down to record a 2-1 win. Hartlepool took the lead after eight minutes thanks to Ryan Oates.
Hartlepool took the lead after eight minutes thanks to Ryan Oates. The O’s equalised ten minutes later, when Victor Adeboyejo poked the ball home from a Michael Clark cross, recording his first senior goal for the club. Tristan Abrahams then gave the O’s the lead ten minutes before the interval.
In the latter stages, Liam Donnelly received two yellow cards in quick succession after showing dissent.
Orient won at Victoria Park in October as well. Josh Laurent put the hosts ahead just before the break, but his goal was cancelled out by Sandro Semedo ten minutes into the second half. Ollie Palmer then scored a brace inside ten minutes to give the O’s all three points.
Hartlepool’s last win at Brisbane Road was back in March 2016. Second-half goals from Billy Painter and Nathan Thomas sealed the victory for the visitors.
Alexander Guy & Michael Ryan
*The match is a 12:30 kick -off and it will be live on BT Sport 1.