Bristol City midfielder Korey Smith states that his team will not underestimate Leyton Orient when they travel to E10 tomorrow night. The Robins extended their lead at the top of the League 1 to 8 points with their 1-0 win over Rochdale after MK Dons and Swindon dropped points on Saturday. Smith, who spoke to Robins players today stated that “we are at the business end of the season and to get the 3 points is the most important thing”. “It will be a big challenge with Orient fighting for survival. We won’t underestimate them, they are a good team but we will play our game”.
Orient come into the game after their third win in four after a 2-0 victory at Walsall with Smith aware of the threat that they possess, “they have good players, are on a good run of form and we are aware of what they can do”. City face 3 of the bottom 4 away in their next three fixtures and boss Steve Coterill is mindful of “funny results” at this time of the year. Robins top scorer Aaron Wilbraham has hit two in as many games after a spell on the sidelines and will need to continue scoring to fire City to the Championship. Orient will breath a sigh of relief after Matt Smith returned to Fulham after netting 14 goals in 20 games for the Robins but will still need to be aware of the City strike force. Between them Wilbraham, Kieran Agard, Smith and Jay Emmanuel Thomas have netted 32 of City’s 62 league goals.
With 9 points from 15 games, Orient’s form has began to improve under Fabio Liverani after a poor start to his O’s reign. Orient’s top scorer Chris Dagnall, hinted at the growing confidence in the camp with back to back wins with clean sheets for the first time this season. “All down to confidence, we were playing well and not getting results but the boys remained confident and results have started coming”. Orient will welcome City to Brisbane Road after beating 2 teams in top half in their last 4 and with only two defeats in 7 against the top 6; Dagnall says “it will be a really good test and we will look forward to it”.
Robins boss Steve Cotterill, praised his side after a hard fought win over Rochdale, “we looked a bit tired, had a lot of games with turnover not as quick and passing not as crisp as usual but was a big result”. With the trip to Orient it will be City’s 8th game in 24 days but realizes that Saturday’s result could be massive at the end of the season “we work hard on set pieces and that was the difference today”. City reached 70 points with the win and Cotterill’s team will aim to add to that tomorrow night. “We have a pretty good idea of the team and will play as much football as the pitch will allow us to”. The Robins are the league second top scorers behind MK Dons and have the joint best away record in the division with 29 points from 16 matches.
Interestingly for City, 2 of their 5 league defeats this term have come in their last 5 matches with a loss at Colchester and home defeat to Sheffield United. Orient could build on what Colchester did to City where they went 3-0 up within 26 minutes. City have scored first in 24 of their 33 games and in 10 of their 16 away games. Orient will have to try and stop a City goal with City unbeaten when scoring first on the road this season with 7 wins and 3 draws. But with Orient netting first in their last two games this could help them at home where their form is some of the reason why they find themselves 21st. Cotterill’s men have only lost 1 game when leading at half time but are unbeaten away when leading at the break which Orient will need to be weary of.
City could cement themselves to within touching distance of the Championship with wins over Orient, Crawley and Yeovil in their next 3 games. City have only lost 1 in 8 against the bottom 6 picking up 6 wins but with Orient improving under Liverani, it could be another tough test for Steve Cotterill’s promotion chasers. Orient are without a win in 6 attempts against Bristol City with their last win coming back in 2001, 1-0 at Ashton Gate in the F.A. Cup. City won 3-1 at Brisbane Road last year when the teams were in completely the opposite positions and Cotterill is aware that “it is a different season, we are not looking at last year’s scenario”. 3 out of the last 4 meetings between the sides have been draws and with Orient’s improvement, a score draw could be a likely result.
Orient will still be without Adam Legizins and Lloyd James with Darius Henderson also a major doubt. Fabio Liverani could name an unchanged side for the first time this season after his sides win at Walsall but Gary Sawyer, Jay Simpson and Dean Cox will be pushing for starts. Cotterill stated “that we have a few knocks but nothing that is really serious” and with Wilbraham back scoring he looks set to partner Kieran Agard in attack with 10 assist man Kieran Freeman behind them.
Prediction – Leyton Orient 1-1 Bristol City