Blyth Spartans manager Alun Armstrong is out for another FA Trophy shock when his side travel to National League table toppers, Leyton Orient on Saturday. The Spartans saw off Boreham Wood in the second round and Armstrong insists his side will go to try and play. Speaking to BSAFC “we will have a go and not sit back. We have attacking players who can cause them problems”.
- Sit 10th in National League North
- Only lost two of their last 18 matches in all competitions – W11 D5 L2
Blyth saw their 14 match unbeaten record end with a 3-2 home defeat to Hereford FC last weekend. Armstrong was left frustrated with his sides performance describing to BSAFC “ the performance was unacceptable, I had a right go at the lads, I said for them to go and have a think about what they done differently today to what they have done in last 14 games. The first half was no where near the intensity we normally play at”
Blyth had been on a great run being unbeaten since the start of November winning nine of their 14 games and reaching the third round of the FA Trophy. But Armstrong was left disappointed with how his side lost their unbeaten run. Speaking to BSAFC “I said I could accept it coming to an end if we gave everything but today we didn’t see the energy levels that we have in previous games, that’s the most disappointing thing”.
Defender Michael Liddle made his 100th appearance for the club against Hereford and bemoaned his sides sloppy start to the game falling behind. The former Sunderland man joined Blyth back in 2016 and knows how important it is to start games quick. Speaking to BSAFC “we always say, its about how we start, we need to start games fast, need to get at teams especially at home. I didn’t do that and we were sloppy so they got us. All it takes is for them to get a goal and then your team is chasing”.
- Kept six clean sheets this season – (two away)
- Kept back to back clean sheets in FA Trophy
- No clean sheet in last two games
- One clean sheet in last eight games
- One clean sheet in last seven away games
Armstrong who joined Blyth back in 2016 is fully aware of the threat that Orient will pose on Saturday and acknowledged the difficulties his side could face at the Breyer Group Stadium. Speaking to BSAFC “we have seen them, they are very good team on top and it will be difficult to deal with them so we have got to be mindful of that. We can’t go there and expect to play open football but we will try and play our football. We have got to show them the respect they deserve”.
- Away Record this Season – P16 W6 D5 L5 F26 A28
- Unbeaten in last eight games – W5 D3
- Last defeat – 13/10/2018 – Boston 4-0 Blyth Spartans
- Unbeaten in last three away FA Trophy games
Liddle who had a loan spell with the O’s back in 2010 is excited with the challenge that awaits his side and is aware that all of the pressure will be on the home side. The 29 year old only made one appearance for the O’s stated to BSAFC “it is a very big game for us, it’s an exciting game for the lads. They are going to be quality and we’re going to have to be right at it. The stadium is class and the pitch is good. There is no pressure on us, we can go out and express ourselves. If we have the right attitude there is no reason why we can’t put in a performance”
- Failed to score in six games this season (three away)
- Scored in last 15 games in all competitions
- Last failed – 03/11/2018 – Blyth 0-3 FC United
- Scored in last eight away games
Louis Laing could start at Orient after gaining some valuable minutes against Hereford. Adam Wrightson is in contention to start while Kieran Green look set to keep his place in attack.
Armstrong stated to BSAFC on his squad “it gave us food for thought on what we’re going to play next week after watching that. It got me thinking, people may think that places are theirs, you can’t take anything for granted”.
Head to Head
No previous meetings between sides
Last Time Out – 3-2 home defeat to Hereford
Prediction – Leyton Orient 2-1 Blyth Spartans