Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade is looking for his side to build on their first clean sheet of the season away at Bristol City. The London club who finished third last season, just missing out on promotion to the Championship have been vulnerable at the back at the start of the campaign. Prior to Tuesday’s draw with Bristol City, the O’s had conceded 6 goals in 3 matches in all competitions with the center of defense being the troublesome area. Slade was happier with his sides performance ” we are still improving and we are going the right way about it, the defense was much more solid giving us a platform to work from”. He added ” the whole back 4 were good tonight it was a competent performance all round just need to be a little more ruthless at times”.
New signing Jobi McAnuff who started for the first time at City revealed after the game that it was something they talked about before the match, “it is something as a team we want to be bang on with, getting as many as we can; all round the boys worked their socks off”. Orient were boosted by the return of Scott Cuthbert who missed the first couple of games of the season with an injury and saw the O’s revert back to last season’s back four. Cuthbert joined the O’s in 2011 as a center half but with Orient without a recognised right back at the start of last season, the Scot reverted to the right back birth. Cuthbert made it his own making 54 appearances in the 2013/2014 season. The return of Cuthbert allowed Elliot Omozusi to switch to left back where he played most of last season with Nathan Clarke and Mathieu Baudry in the center.
Orient missed out on promotion by 8 points to Wolves and Brentford by only achieved 16 clean sheets in the season compared to 26 for Wolves and 22 for Brentford. Orient started like a house on fire with 8 straight wins before a home draw with Walsall but their form began to tail off towards the back of the season. After Christmas Orient secured 38 points out of a possible 69 whilst Brentford secured 45 points but Wolves ran away with the title with 55 points out of possible 72. Although Orient only lost 7 points on Brentford in 2014, at start of March Orient had 5 clean sheets out of 10 but from March till the end of the season including the play offs, Orient only managed 3 clean sheets from 16 matches.
Clean sheets and consistency at the end of the season cost Orient dearly, they will not want the same thing to happen again. From start of March till end of season, records for top three are below:
1. Wolves: Played 15. W11 D3 L1 = 36 point
2. Brentford: Played 15 W8 D4 L3 = 28 points
3. Leyton Orient: Played 13 W5 D4 L4 = 19 points
In those games Wolves and Brentford managed 9 clean sheets whilst Orient only achieved 3. Orient need to bolster up their defense as everyone says you need a strong base before you build on top.