Leyton Orient midfielder Marvin Bartley has urged his team mates “to stand up and be men” in order to avoid relegation to League 2. Bartley who has recently returned from injury spoke after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Bradford about Orient’s predicament as they sit three points from safety. Pressure must be increasing on Fabio Liverani who has only seen his side win 3 times since taking over the reigns from now departed Mauro Milanese. Bartley stated that Liverani ” is trying to implement his style and we are having to take on, we have to remain confident and believe in what he is doing as manager”.
Bartley played 60 minutes after his first start since November and was one of Orient’s best performers against Bradford but understands that “we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we haven’t won enough games at home and we were chasing the game after we conceded”. After James Hanson opening the scoring for Bradford, it was the 18th game out of 30 in which Orient conceded first which has remained an underlying problem since the start of the season. With game running out fast, Bartley urged that all the players are in this together a midst continued reports over divisions within the squad.
Oldham come to E10 having won 2 of their last three games but lost last time out at home to Colchester. Lee Johnson’s men sit 2 points outside the play offs in 8th place on 43 points and have gone rather unnoticed in League 1 this season. Oldham have picked up more points at home than away but have 2 wins in last 4 on the road after their worst defeat of the season, 7-0 away at MK Dons. Orient will have to be wary of Jonathon Forte who has hit 14 league goals already this term but has only hit 1 in his last 9 appearances for the Latics.
Bartley alluded that Orient had to chase the game once again after conceding first which could give Oldham optimism having netted first in 3 of their last 5 matches. Oldham have only lost 1 match after scoring first which came in August against tomorrow’s hosts in a 3-1 defeat at Boundary Park. Since then the Lactics have scored first in 15 matches winning 9 and drawing 6, picking up 33 of their 43 points. In addition in the 8 away games that Oldham have scored first they have won 4 and drew 4 staying unbeaten. With Orient leaking goals at home especially in the first the statistics do not look good for the East London side who have only picked up 2 points from 30 when losing at half time whereas Oldham have 24 points from the 10 games when they were leading at half time. Liverani was pleased with Wednesday performance but once again the early goal didn’t come for his side and were punished minutes later.
Dean Cox remains a doubt for tomorrow’s clash having coming off with a hamstring injury on Wednesday for Ryan Hedges who once again impressed after entering the fray. Liverani was asked why he didn’t start “we started with Pritchard to cover Bradford’s dangerous players on the wing and wanted a player to give a balance to the side”. Defensively Orient still have major problems with neither Lowry or Clarke able to deal with the aerial prowess of James Hanson. Orient’s hopes could be boosted with Oldham’s poor record against the bottom 6 teams with 5 points from 21 with their solitary win coming in a 4-1 with Coventry back in October.
Oldham score most of their goals in the first half with 24 of their 41 goals coming in this period with 8 of them between 20 and 30 minutes. The O’s will need to start the game well which they have in recent weeks but the inability to take the first chance has proved costly losing their last 3 home with the opening goal coming before 25 minutes. 2 wins in 15 with the worst home record in the football league lies with Orient who need to pick up quickly before it is too late.
Orient are unbeaten in 4 league matches against Oldham who’s last league win against the O’s game in a 2-0 victory in 2012. Oldham however won the last encounter between the two sides with a 1-0 win in the first round of the F.A. cup in November. Oldham have four wins in their last 8, losing 3 and drawing 1 whilst Orient have 1 win in 7 but haven’t won at home since a Boxing day triumph over Crawley. A win for Lee Johnson’s men could see them jump into the play off places and midfielder Jacob Mellis understands that his side “need to put a run together to put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack”. Mellis who was a January signing from Blackpool knows his side need to put it right after the defeat to Colchester last week but understands that “we can’t take them lightly, they have good players but are struggling, we have our focus on that”.
Nathan Clarke and Shane Lowry could be replaced with Matheiu Baudry after both performing poorly on Wednesday whilst if Cox isn’t fit, Hedges could make only his second start for the O’s. Adam Ledgizins and Lloyd James remain sidelined while the game could come to early for Darius Henderson, Gianvito Plasmati and Jay Simpson. Lee Johnson has concerns over Carl Winchester, Conor Wilkinson and Amari Morgan Smith who are all struggling with hamstring problems.
Oldham will start fast looking to get an early goal against an Orient side lacking confidence. It will be difficult for the O’s who will struggle to break down the Lactics but with three 1-1 draws in the last four league encounters, a draw is likely.
Prediction: Orient 1-1 Oldham