Leyton Orient keeper Alex Ciask said there can be no more excuses as his side go into tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield United knowing that no less than a win is needed. After a 1-0 defeat in midweek to Rochdale, fate was taken out of their hands as they sit 2 points from safety with only 2 games to play.
The on loan Burnley stopper stated that despite the position they are in we “always have to believe, we can’t give up. It isn’t in our hands any more so tomorrow we have to pick up 3 points, it is all you can do”. Orient fell to their third straight defeat after Ian Henderson’s strike at Spotland, with their form far from what is needed to survive relegation. Ciask stated many times that his sides “failed to create enough chances to challenge their keeper, Saturday is must win, we can’t have any more excuses”
- O’s picked up5 points from last 18 available – LLLDDW
- 1win in last 6 – 1-0 away victory at Coventry
- 8points from last 18 available at home – LDWDWL (Wins 3-1 Port Vale, 3-0 Yeovil)
- Home Form –W5, D5, L12 – 20/47 points
- Lost 21 games this season –11 by a 1 goal margin and 7 by a 2 goal margin
- Failed to score in 9 of 21 home matches, only keeping 5 clean sheets
- Conceded 1st in last 4 matches
- Only picked up 12 points from 75 when conceding first – W3, D3, L19 (Home – W1, D1, L11)
Sheffield United arrive in Leyton, still not confirming their play off spot after a 1-1 draw at home to Bradford last weekend. Blades keeper Mark Howard’s main focus is on ensuring they take part beyond the 3rd of May, “we need to win to guarantee place, that’s all we are looking to do, it is in our own hands”. United conceded a late equalizer against Bradford along with Rochdale’s win in midweek, United still could miss out on a play off spot.
- Picked up 8 points from last 18 available – DLDWWL
- Last 5 away games- LDWDD – Last win at Barnsley (2-0), defeat at Yeovil (1-0)
- Away form – W9, D6, L7 – 33 points – 5th best away record in League
Nigel Clough rued his sides inability to keep a clean sheet against their Yorkshire rivals “it is a frustrating one, being 1-0 up with 5 minutes to go, we played well enough to win the game today”. With no win in their last three games, Clough knows that the difference between 5th and 6th in the playoffs could be key, “we can’t be complacent, we have to get a point on Saturday”.
United play 6th placed Chesterfield on the last day of the season which could be a crunch match to who finishes in the higher position. Clough stated in his pre match interview that “we don’t want to leave anything to chance. We need a clean sheet in one of our two games”.
- 10 clean sheets this season – 0 in last 4, 1 in their last 6 and only 3 in their last 20 games
- Only failed to score in 6 matches this season – scored in 17 out of their last 18 matches
- 12 out of their 19 wins by 1 goal (6 out of 9 away)
- 11 out of 13 defeats by 1 goal (5 out of 7 away)
- Record when scoring first – W15, D4, L1 (Away – W7, D2, L0) 49/69 points
- Record when conceding first – W4, D8, L12 (Away – W2, D4, L7)
- United not won last 4 away games when conceded first
The O’s will need to be weary of the threat that United possess in the second half of matches this term. Orient were nearly caught out earlier in the season when 2 goals in last 5 minutes saw United come back to lead 2-1 before Romain Vincelot headed home in injury time.
- 19th on 1st half form – 3rd on 2nd half form
- 1st half– F17, A21 2nd half – F47 A30
- Scored 22 in last 15 minutes – would sit 8th if games ended after 75 minutes (gained 5 points)
- Scored 37 in last 30 minutes – would sit 13th if games ended after 60 minutes (gained 13 points)
- Only Bristol City have scored more goals in second half (50) but no team netted more in last 15 than the Blades
Both managers are aware of the threat that their opponents possess – Liverani “Sheffield United are one of the best sides in the league, they are solid at the back and very creative up front through Murphy and Done”.
Clough on Orient “When you look at their squad on paper it is as good as anything in this league and if anything stronger that the one that too them to play off finals last season”.
Fabio Liverani remains confident that his side can beat the drop “We still believe that 6 points can avoid relegation considering that together with Port Vale we have the best goal difference”. However the Italian did admit to the media that “the confidence went down after their goal and we lost”. After a demoralizing 6-1 defeat last weekend at MK Dons, Liverani made 5 changes but the end outcome was the same.
- In 3 of the last six seasons the team in 21st position with 2 games left has escaped relegation: (09/10 Tranmere, 08/09 Carlisle and last season Notts County)
- In the other 3 seasons the bottom 4 has remained the same from last 2 games till the end
- 2 wins may not even be enough to avoid relegation –in 2012/2013 Scunthorpe were 21st with 2 games left, won both but were still relegated
Changes could be made with Scott Cuthbert back in the squad after his wife recently gave birth but Darius Henderson looks set to miss the end of the season. Chris Dagnall will continue to lead the attack with the choice of Jay Simpson or David Mooney to partner him.
- Dagnall has played in the last 23 matches since returning from ban picked up at Bradford.
- In fact Dagnall has played in the last 28 matches he has been available from in all competitions
Sheffield United look set to be without Matty Done and Ryan Flynn who remain doubtful with ongoing injury problems. Jay McEveley could also miss out while Terry Kennedy also looks set to miss out. Clough commented on how it can be a balancing act as this stage of the season “hoping for them to be back for play offs but it is a balancing act, got to have 1/2 an eye on if you do get in, no point in not being available for big games”.
- Orient failed to beat a side above 13th at home this season
- Lost 4 of the 5 games played at home against top 6 – only point came in 0-0 draw with MK Dons
- Sheffield United record against bottom 6 – P11, W6, D3, L2 (Away – W3, D1, L1)
- However the Blades haven’t won the last 3 games they have played against bottom 6 (1-0 at Yeovil, 1-2 home to Crewe and 1-1 at Crawley)
A big crowd is expected with Sheffield United selling their full allocation while Orient have halved ticket prices for a massive game in their season. Liverani has urged fans to support the team “I can only ask for them to support us from the warm ups to the final whistle and in return I can assure that the players will give everything”.
- Orient haven’t won in the last 10 meetings between sides – 4 draws and 6 defeats
- Orient’s last win at home against Sheffield United was in 1983
- Last 4 leagues meetings have been draws
Prediction – Leyton Orient 2-2 Sheffield United