The Big Match Preview: - Leyton Orient - 29/11/14 (H)
Orient were beaten play-off finalists last season after an extraordinary season which saw them top the table for a large portion of the season. Although they finished just outside the play-offs the previous season, I’m not sure many expected them to lead League One for long spells. Against the odds then somewhat, The Os reached the play-off final and hearts were ultimately broken as they went down to Rotherham United on penalties at Wembley Stadium. Despite a change of manager earlier this season with Mauro Milanese replacing Russell Slade, the expectation will have been likely to have been to have another play-off push or come as close as physically possible.
Ins and Outs
Jamie Jones moved to Preston North End in the summer and he was replaced by former Derby County keeper Adam Legzdins. Experienced Jamaican winger Jobi McAnuff was drafted in along with Shane Lowry from Millwall, Bradley Pritchard from Charlton Athletic, Darius Henderson from Nottingham Forest, Jay Simpson from Hull City and Liverpool and Napoli full back Andrea Dossena – those being the main ones.
There weren’t a great deal of outgoings, though the East Londoners didn’t have a particularly large squad last season. 20 year old hot prospect Moses Odubajo moved to newly promoted Championship side Brentford in the summer for an initial fee of £1 Million; the O’s youth product made a real name for himself last season. A number of players were released from Brisbane Road: Jake Larkins, Yohan Lasimant, De’Reece Vanderhyde, Robbie Simpson, Johnny Gorman and Ola Adeyemo were moved on allowing for several summer signings.
Current League Position
Leyton Orient are currently 19th in League One going into the weekend’s fixture schedule and are outside the relegation by a single point ahead of 21st place Colchester United. A win and results going their way could move them up to 12th in the league but failure to win could drop them back into the drop zone.
Influential defensive duo Andrew Davies and Stephen Darby are expected to be fit for the weekend’s clash despite doubts through the week over knocks picked up last weekend against Gillingham. Francois Zoko could make his Bradford debut after being an unused substitute in last weekend’s draw. Filipe Morais faces a couple of weeks on the side lines after picking up a shoulder injury in the last match.
Orient have numerous injury problems. Kevin Lisbie is out with a shoulder injury, Italian duo Gianvito Plasmati and Andrea Dossena are doubtful with hamstring injuries, Jay Simpson is also a doubt with his hamstring and Shane Lowry is doubtful due to a calf problem. French midfielder Romain Vincelot misses out through suspension also. Lloyd James and Darius Henderson remain sidelined due to long-term injuries.
Last Meetings with Leyton Orient:
The last time the two sides went head to head with each other, The Bantams came away from East London with three points under their belts in March. Orient were running out of steam as they attempted to keep up with Brentford and Wolves in the automatic promotion race but Aaron Mclean’s first half strike proved enough to seal a narrow victory.
The last contest at Valley Parade was last December; The Os came to town top of the league and the team everyone had their sights set on. Former Southampton man Lloyd James curled a superb shot into the far corner to give his side the lead on the stroke of half time but an inch perfect free kick by Nahki Wells in injury time at the end of the game rescued a point for City.
Leyton Orient’s Recent Form
22/11/14 | Leyton Orient 4-1 Crewe Alexandra | League One | W
15/11/14 | Gillingham 3-2 Leyton Orient | League One | L
11/11/14 | Leyton Orient 2-0 Northampton Town | Johnstone’s Paint Trophy | W
08/11/14 | Oldham Athletic 1-0 Leyton Orient | FA Cup | L
01/11/14 | Leyton Orient 2-2 Coventry City | League One | D
The club’s current top goal scorer with 5 goals, Darius dropped into League One in the summer with Leyton Orient with a good reputation with him. The 33 year old front man began his career with Reading in 2000 and made 71 league appearances (11 goals) for the club during a 4 year spell before a 2004 move to Gillingham. Henderson spent only a single season with the Kent club before a 2005 switch to Watford where he would go on to feature in the Premier League. He made 105 league appearances (29 goals) before moving to Sheffield United in 2008. For the Blades he made 72 league appearances (20 goals) before spending 2 years in London with Millwall (2011-2013). He scored 22 times in 51 league appearances for the club before moving to Nottingham Forest in January 2013. After scoring 10 times in 44 league appearances, and with time left on his contract he opted for a move to Leyton Orient. Henderson is unlikely to feature in this Saturday's match, however, due to a long-term injury.
Ref Watch – Darren Handley
Lancashire based referee Darren Handley has refereed 11 games so far this season, his last game was Shrewsbury Town’s 2-0 home victory against Mansfield Town a couple of weeks ago. He dished out 5 yellow cards that day and a red to Mansfield’s Jamie McGuire for a second bookable offence. The majority of games he’s officiated this season have been in League Two.
Handley has never been in charge of a game Bradford City have played in and before this season he had spent his days refereeing in the Conference Premier, so it seems a recent promotion has been the case for the Bolton-based official.
Sky Bet’s odds for the game are as follows, with them having City as outstanding favourites for the match. However the draw is down as the most unlikely outcome for the match.
Leyton Orient– 19/10