Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay insists his side need to be professional when they face Ebbsfleet United in the FA Cup. The O’s have failed to progress to the second round in the last five seasons and the 29 year old is keen for his side to have a cup run this season. Speaking to leytonorient.com “it’s special, our focus is on Saturday, we will show them respect and make sure we do the job right on Saturday”.
Orient have lost their last four FA Cup Games, only won one of their last nine FA Cup games
The O’s head into the cup on the back of an emphatic 5-0 home win over Hartlepool last weekend. Aaron Drinan struck a hatrick while Tom James and Harry Smith rounded off the scoring. Manager Kenny Jackett was delighted with the victory stating to leytonorient.com “it was a great win for us after a frustrating run of draws. It came together on Saturday and we need more of the same”.
The FA Cup hasn’t been kind to the O’s in recent years, last reaching the second round in 2015 but Jackett is keen for that to change this season. The 59 year old has plenty of cup pedigree having taken Millwall to the Semi-Finals back in 2013 and highlights the benefit of a cup run. Speaking to leytonorient.com “the FA Cup means a lot, it’s a fantastic competition, it’s great for the supporters. For the club in general it can only help. If you have a run in the cup it can supplement and boost a good league campaign”.
Clay regained his side in the team against Hartlepool and impressed on his return. The 29 year old has been in and out of the side since Jackett’s arrival in the summer and acknowledges the confidence boost his side had after their win last weekend. Speaking to leytonorient.com “it’s good to be back in the starting lineup, it’s never nice not being picked on Saturday but you have to get your head down and work hard to get back in the team. Now in the team, you have to work hard to stay in the team”.
Jackett has never lost to a non league side in the FA Cup but is aware the banana skin that Ebbsfleet will possess on Saturday. Fleet sit 5th in National League South, 46 league places below the O’s but the 59 year old has been impressed with them. Speaking to leytonorient.com “I have seen them a few times, they are well coached and have a good manager there. I saw them play last season and this season. They have a nice and good way about them. They are in good form and have aspirations to go up this year. They will be enjoy coming here and will be looking to upset a league side”.
Jackett has progressed to Round Two in his last three seasons as a manager
Clay has only won one of his five FA Cup games in an Orient shirt will be looking to add to that tally on Saturday. The O’s went out to non league Maldon & Tiptree in 2019 with Clay starting in the game and the 29 year old knows the dangers of playing teams from lower divisions. Speaking to leytonorient.com “they will be confident, they have a lot of good pros and players who have been in higher leagues. We are not going to take them lightly but we are confident. Winning breeds confidence whatever competition. We want to win every game, we need to put a strong team out to progress”.
Forward Paul Smyth should be back involved after recovering from his hamstring injury. Adam Thompson continues his recovery but will not be involved while midfielder Hector Kyprianou will be hoping for a recall to the starting 11.
Head to Head – Leyton Orient 1, Draw 2, Ebbsfleet (Gravesend & Northfleet) 2