Justin Edinburgh’s first home game in charge of the O’s won’t be an easy one as they play host to league leaders Sutton United. Here we preview Saturday’s game:
Last Saturday, the O’s yet another defeat to their relegation rivals. Solihull Moors denied Justin Edinburgh a winning start as Orient Head Coach by claiming a 1-0 win over the O’s.
Solihull Moors had the better of much of the game, but they didn’t manage to make the breakthrough until just before the hour mark.
Darren Carter delivered a free-kick to the far post and Liam Daly was on hand to head the ball home from close range.
The Moors had an opportunity to further extend their lead late on as Macauley Bonne was judged to have fouled Paul Green in the box. Solihull Moors’ captain Darren Carter stepped up but his penalty rebounded off of the post.
The O’s fell to another defeat, extending their run without a league win to 15 games.
In his pre-match interview, Justin Edinburgh has guaranteed that there will a reaction from his side this weekend.
Judd N’Gala Happe Widdowson
McAnuff Ochieng Clay Dayton
Grainger, Pollock, Westbrooke, Dalby (Ochieng 73′), Mooney (Harrold 66′)
Justin Edinburgh’s defensive options continue to be limited due to suspensions.
Jake Caprice will continue to serve his suspension, missing his second game of a three-match ban. Therefore, Myles Judd is likely to continue at right back.
Jamie Sendles-White will also serve the final game of his two-game ban due to a misconduct charge.
The O’s will still be without Josh Coulson and George Elokobi as well as they continue to recover from their groin and hamstring injuries respectively. However, they are making progress and Coulson could be back in training in the next few weeks. Charlie Lee is further away from a return from his knee injury.
Alex Lawless could also be in contention this weekend after returning to training following a spell out with a groin injury.
Edinburgh opted to hand goalkeeping coach Dean Brill his Orient debut last time out and the 32-year-old played in a competitive game for the first time since April 2015. Brill is likely to continue in goal as Edinburgh calls upon his experience despite Grainger overcoming a shoulder injury to make the bench last weekend.
However, the new O’s boss has shown signs that he is willing to give Orient’s young talent opportunities. Henry Ochieng made his first start since September against Solihull Moors, while Sam Dalby was called up to the senior squad as a substitute after playing for the youth team in recent weeks.
Edinburgh used a 4-4-2 last time out and changed to a 4-4-2 diamond during the second half. It will be interesting to see whether he approaches the game against the league leaders in a different manner, especially given last weekend’s poor performance.
National League: 1st FA Cup: 2nd Round Top scorer: Craig Dundas 7
Sutton United have reached the halfway point of the season in pole position in the National League having accumulated 42 points from 23 games.
Paul Doswell’s men have lost just two of their last fifteen league games. Sutton struggled to find the winning goal in games from late September through to the end of October as they drew five of their six league games. They managed a win over AFC Fylde during that spell.
Sutton had gone nine games unbeaten in the league when they hosted Torquay last month and they would’ve expected to beat the then-bottom side, however, the Gulls pulled off a surprise 0-1 win.
The U’s have responded with back to back wins since then, and have won four of their last five games.
Last weekend Sutton defeated Eastleigh to claim top spot in the National League.
Tom Bolarinwa gave the U’s the lead just shy of the quarter-of-an-hour mark. Tommy Wright then sealed the victory with a goal eight minutes from time, lobbing Graham Stack following a flick on from Ross Lafayette
Butler, Collins, Downer, Walton, Cadogan (John 75′), Spence, Bailey, Davis (Eastmond 38′), Bolarinwa (Wright 70′), Lafayette, Dundas
John, Eastmond, Wright, Taylor, Egan
Macclesfield Town are the only National League side to have claimed more points on the road than Sutton so far this term. The U’s are unbeaten in their last five away league outings, a run stretching back to mid-September.
Paul Doswell looks set to have Dean Beckwith and Aswad Thomas available for selection ahead of the trip to Brisbane Road as the pair have overcome their recent injury problems.
However, there is at least one injury doubt for the U’s as Kenny Davis is struggling with a hamstring strain.
Sutton will also be without Alfie Egan as he has returned to parent club AFC Wimbledon.
Simon Downer made 79 appearances for Orient between 1998 and 2004. He was a part of the O’s side that reached the Division Three Play-Off final in 2000/01 and started in final defeat against Blackpool at the Millenium Stadium.
Orient travelled to Gander Green Lane for the opening game of the season and Sutton introduced the O’s to the harsh realities of non-league football by claiming a 2-0 win.
Sutton took the lead fifteen minutes into the match when Joe Widdowson was judged to have brought down Craig Dundas in the box. U’s skipper James Collins stepped up and sent Charlie Grainger the wrong way from the spot to make it 1-0.
Ten minutes before the break, Paul Doswell’s men doubled their advantage. Ross Lafayette whipped a cross in from the right flank, Dean Beckwith had been left unmarked and he beat Grainger to the delivery to make it 2-0.
In the second-half, Orient continued to make heavy work of it, and they could only muster long-range shots and unsuccessful crosses. Sutton held firm and managed to claim the opening day victory.
Robert Evans & Paul Evans