Mauro Milanese grew up with the F.A. Cup in his native Italy and is continuing to respect the competition taking his Leyton Orient side to play off chasers Oldham Athletic. Interviewed on Thursday after having his first full week with the squad, he is happy with the time spent with players and describes them as “nearly there”. “We have been working with and without the ball, looking to press the opposition higher and changing play from side to side”.
Milanese understands the importance of the cup but with a quarter final against Northampton in the JPT on Tuesday and two important league fixtures next, he has one eye on them but both remain important to the O’s boss. Orient may have a selection headache with Shaun Batt, Gianvito Plasmati and Jay Simpson all injury doubts for tomorrow clash whilst Romain Vincelot, Lloyd James, Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney all still on the sidelines. Recent signing Andrea Dossena is waiting on clearance before making his debut after signing till the end of the season on Thursday.
Oldham who have been making steady progress up the League 1 table suffered their first defeat in 14 matches against table toppers Bristol City last saturday. Player of the month Jonathon Forte will be looking to continue his fine form after netting 5 times in October. Forte is Oldham’s top scorer striking 11 times in 13 games for the Lactics with the 28 year old striker in the most prolific season of his career. After an unsettling 3 years at Southampton, Forte only made 11 starts for the South Coast club being shipped out on loan 4 times. But Forte seems to have found a home in Greater Manchester since signing in August netting two times on his debut; he hasn’t looked back since.
Orient have had recent success in the FA Cup reaching at least the third round in three of the last four seasons with them reaching the fifth round in 2010/2011 losing to Arsenal in a replay after drawing 1-1 at Brisbane Road. Orient last faced defeat in the first round in 2009/2010 when they lost to Tranmere in a replay. Oldham have failed to reach the second round 3 times in the last six years but last faced defeat in 2010/2011 to Acrrington 3-2. Since then the Lactics have reached at least the third round playing the likes of Everton and Liverpool.
Orient midfielder Dean Cox understands how much the FA Cup means and hopes to replicate recent form in the competition. Orient won earlier in the season at Boundary Park 3-1 but since then Oldham have been on a great run with Cox highlighting Forte as one to watch. Oldham boss Lee Johnson is looking for revenge as Orient are the only side to leave Boundary Park with all three points so far this season. “Orient have quality on the break but it hasn’t quite worked out for them this season”. Jabo Ibehre has been given permission to play against the club where he started his career but Adam Lockwood and George Elokobi miss out with Michael Tidser an injury concern.
Oldham have been going well in the league with Forte netting frequently whilst Orient have been stuttering along with their best performances coming on the road.
Prediction: 2-2 Forte and Ibehre for the Lactics with Cox and Wright netting for the O’s