Shrewsbury Town (h) Preview
Russell Slade's side take on newly promoted Shrewsbury Town at Brisbane Road tomorrow as the pressure mounts on the former school teacher. The Shrews arrive in East London without an away league win this season and must be looking forward to facing the goal shy O's.
Wednesday night saw Orient defeated again, this time on the road at MK Dons. Admittedly, I never expected us to pick up any points at Stadium:MK so I wasn't disappointed when Ryan Lowe's goal proved decisive. The first half saw an MK onslaught on the Orient goal and The O's held on for 41 minutes before Lowe's goal. The second half saw a few Orient chances but they fell to David Mooney, who struggles to finish his dinner never mind a crossed football. The loudest cheer from the sub 300 travelling Orient fans came when Slade was sent from the touchline not long before the final whistle.
Slade now persides over an Orient side with a truly appalling record. One win in six games, four games without a goal, four straight defeats, one home league goal in seven and a half hours of football and five wins at home in 2012. That record is grossly unnacceptable and the style in which those records have been met have turned long term fans away from the club yet Slade still sits in the hotseat.
Its a sad state of affairs, really. Slade was once an animated, much loved character who saved us from relegation and provided many of us with the most memorable season in our time supporting the club with a fantastic passing style of football that saw us embark on a huge unbeaten run, finish a point from the play-offs and saw us beat Norwich City, Swansea City and take Arsenal to an FA Cup replay. Now Slade stands almost motionless on the touchline with his arms folded and has us playing a dull, boring and negative long ball football that makes many want to claw their eyeballs from their head.
Tomorrow sees the likely return of Kevin Lisbie to a side shy of goals. Ryan Brunt has worked hard and even David Mooney has recieved credit whilst Super Kev has been sidelined but neither has produced the goods in terms of goals. It would be harsh to lay the blame at the feet of Brunt and Mooney as the midfield aren't exactly providing them with floods of chances but the return of Lisbie sees the return of a player who can produce a goal almost from nothing.
Scott Cuthbert is also vying for a return according to reports and it will be interesting to see whether the Scot will return to the starting XI. Despite losing games we haven't really leaked goals, only conceading more than two goals against Scouse clubs in Everton and Tranmere Rovers. The partnership between Ben Chorley and Nathan Clarke has been fairly solid and it seems that it will be a two way battle between Cuthbert and Chorley to partner captain Clarke.
As I've already elluded to, the visitors haven't won on the road this campaign and even suffered red faces against lower league opposition in the FA Cup against Hereford United. However, the Salop, as they're known, must surely be rubbing their hands at the prospect of visiting Brisbane Road.
The negativity amongst Orient fans must have doubled earlier today when the Shropshire side announced the re-signing of Luke Rodgers. The tiny forward man was an opposition player I always liked watching when I was a child and wanted Orient to sign when I recently heard he had become available. That wasn't to be and the one time deadly Division Three (League 2 for you kids these days) striker will surely heap more pressure on Russell Slade.
There is an ex-O returning to Brisbane Road tomorrow. Luke Summerfield was an Orient loanee in 2009 and spent three months at the club under Geraint Williams, playing fourteen times in the process.
One of my first dozen Orient games saw Orient hammer Shrewsbury 6-1 and go on to play at Wembley. At 7 years old, I thought this was the norm for Orient, how wrong I could be!
The away side haven't had the best start to life in League One since promotion and sit two points and one place behind Orient in the table. I still think that they will be confident of overtaking The O's despite their away record and I'm not going tomorrow expecting a classic but the game is massive for both sides and could even be described as a 'six pointer'.