Leyton Orient travel to League One Gillingham in the first round of the FA Cup. Here we preview Saturday’s game:
League One: 20th FA Cup: 1st Round League Cup: 3rd Round Top scorer: Josh Wright 13
Gillingham narrowly avoided relegation to League Two last term. The Gills finished just one place above the relegation zone and avoided the drop by just a point. A goalless draw with Northampton on the final day of the season proved to be enough to keep the Gills up.
The Gills failed to make it past the first round of the FA Cup for the fourth season in a row. National League North side Brackley Town managed a 2-2 draw at the Priestfield Stadium and progressed to the second round in a 4-3 win after extra time.
Tom Eaves (Yeovil Town), Alex Lacey (Yeovil Town), Luke O'Neill (Southend United), Conor Wilkinson (Bolton Wanderers), Gabriel Zakuani (Northampton Town), Billy Bingham (Crewe Alexandra), Liam Nash (Maldon & Tiptree), Ben Nugent (Crewe Alexandra), Steve Arnold (Dover Athletic), Jesse Starkey (Swindon Town), Connor Ogilvie (Tottenham Hotspur, Loan), Sean Clare (Sheffield Wednesday, Loan)
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers, £750,000), Mitchell Dickenson (Hythe Town), Rory Donnelly (Cliftonville), Chris Herd (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ryan Jackson (Colchester United), Billy Knott (Lincoln City), Sam Lawford (Faversham Town), Cody McDonald (AFC Wimbledon), Emmanuel Osadebe (Cambridge United), Zesh Rehman (Southern District), Josh Wright (Southend United), Bradley Stevenson (Cray Wanderers, Loan), Oliver Muldoon, Henry Newcombe, Will Sykes
League One: 22nd FA Cup: 1st Round Top scorer: Tom Eaves 6
Gillingham have struggled in League One again so far this term and they are currently in the relegation zone having lost eight of their sixteen games. The Gills have managed three league wins and just one of those victories have come at home.
Ady Pennock left the club by mutual consent at the end of September after managing just one win in nine league games. Director of Football Peter Taylor took charge as caretaker manager but he too left the club after a handful of games.
Since then, Steve Lovell has been in temporary charge and so far he has managed two wins and a draw and one defeat.
Last Saturday, the Gills claimed an unlikely victory against play-off challengers Rotherham United.
Josh Parker gave Gillingham an early lead and Tom Eaves doubled their lead early in the second half. Kieffer Moore pulled a goal back for the Millers ten minutes later.
Joe Mattock was dismissed five minutes before time. Josh Parker then sealed the win for the Gills immediately after Rotherham had gone down to ten men.
Holy, Clare, Garmston, Ehmer, Zakuani, Bingham, Hessenthaler, Martin, Parker, Eaves, List
Nelson, Wilkinson, Ogilvie (Garmston 46′), O’Neill (Zakuani 69′), Cundle, Byrne, Wagstaff (List 58′)
Caretaker Gills boss Steve Lovell will be without a few players ahead of the visit of Orient.
Bradley Garmston was substituted at half-time against Rotherham due to a hamstring injury and he is set to miss Saturday’s game.
Longer term injury concerns Ben Nugent and Alex Lacey are still on the sidelines due to foot and ankle injuries respectively. They are still a couple of weeks away from returning.
Goalkeeper, Stuart Nelson spent the 2007/08 season at Brisbane Road, making 33 appearances in an Orient shirt.
Scott Wagstaff joined Orient on loan from Charlton in October 2012. During his month at Brisbane Road, he made seven appearances.
Gabriel Zakuani came through the youth ranks at Orient before making his first team debut in March 2003 against Bournemouth at the age of 16. His first senior goal for the club came in the following season in the 2-1 defeat at Kidderminster. 2004/05 was a breakthrough season for the young centre back as he made 36 appearances. He made another 50 appearances in the 2005/06 promotion season, taking his total to 98 games for the club. In July 2006 Fulham paid £1m to take him to Craven Cottage.
Luke O’Neill had a short loan spell with the O’s during the 2014/15 season, making 8 appearances for Orient.
On Saturday, Orient claimed a point in a 2-2 draw against promotion chasing Wrexham.
Chris Holroyd gave the dragons a very early lead, scoring a header a minute into the match. It was a disastrous start but Orient drew level mid-way through the half. Macauley Bonne’s chip beat Chris Dunn to make it 1-1.
Wrexham went back in front with twenty minutes to go as Chris Holroyd found the net again. However, with five minutes to go, Mark Ellis headed the ball home from a corner to secure a point for Steve Davis’s side.
Ellis Sendles-White Happe
Boco Westbrooke Dayton
Sargeant, Judd (Caprice 91′), Clay (Dayton 80′), Harrold (Mooney 73′), Sotiriou
Steve Davis will have to make changes to the side that drew against Wrexham.
Loanees Mark Ellis and James Brophy have not been given permission by their respective parent clubs to feature in the FA Cup for the O’s.
However, Brentford have allowed Zain Westbrooke to play for Orient in the cup and he will be hoping to keep his place in the side after making his first start last time out.
The O’s boss is likely to have a few players back in contention.
Alex Lawless has been out of action for almost a month due to a groin problem, however, he is thought to be fit again. Joe Widdowson is also expected to return from his hamstring injury.
Matt Harrold made his return from a calf injury last Saturday as he came off the bench against Wrexham. The striker also played an hour of Orient’s friendly against Barnet in midweek.
Jobi McAnuff is back in contention as well after serving his one-match suspension for five yellow cards last weekend.
Josh Coulson, George Elokobi and Charlie Lee remain on the sidelines.
Charlie Lee made 111 appearances for Gillingham during three seasons and a loan spell with the club between 2010 and 2014.
The O’s and the Gills last met in pre-season in July 2016. Jordan Bowery and Jay Simpson had given Orient a 2-0 lead, however, Lee Martin suffered a serious injury and as a result, the match was abandoned with 13 minutes remaining.
The last competitive meeting between the two sides was in April 2015. The match at Brisbane Road ended in a 3-3 draw. Lloyd James opened the scoring from the spot just after the half-hour, but Jermaine McGlashan soon put the visitors back on level terms and Cody McDonald put the Gills in front just before the interval. McDonald then made it 1-3 from the spot but the O’s hit back courtesy of goals from Darius Henderson and Josh Wright.
The O’s lost on their two visits to Gillingham earlier that season. In the Football League Trophy, they suffered a 1-0 defeat and they suffered a 3-2 defeat in the away league fixture against a Gills’ side that had been reduced to ten men.
Orient’s last win at the Priestfield Stadium came on Boxing Day 2013. Adebayo Akinfenwa gave the home side the lead after just four minutes as he headed home from a corner. Orient were awarded a penalty after Lisbie was brought down in the box, but Omozusi’s spot kick was saved by Stuart Nelson. However, the O’s staged a comeback in the last twenty minutes to claim a victory. First Marvin Bartley equalised from a corner, then Yohann Lasimant headed in a last-minute winner.
Gillingham and Orient have met on five occasions in the FA Cup. The Gills have won three of those games.
Gillingham last knocked the O’s out of the FA Cup in December 2011 as Curtis Weston scored the only goal of the game.
Orient’s only FA Cup win over Gillingham was back in January 1961 and the O’s won an eight-goal thriller 6-2 away from home.
Graham Kane & Leigh Crowhurst