Leyton Orient FC Meeting The Opposition.
Tranmere Rovers will play host to Leyton Orient this Saturday afternoon, looking for their first win of The New Year.
With the recent signings of Midfielder Brad Walker, Winger Logan Chalmers and Striker Harvey Saunders it will be interesting to see just who Micky Mellon selects in his starting eleven.
Orient will be looking to bounce back from their 3-0 away defeat to Stevenage last time out, as the winners that day have a game in hand on the league leaders.
Ahead of the game I spoke to Orient supporter Mat Roper of The Pandamonium Fanzine.
With Orient placed first in League Two heading into Saturday’s clash, how much has this start to the season exceeded expectations?
Way exceeded. The fan base was slightly split with approx 10% believing we hadn’t done anywhere near enough in the transfer market and were going “nowhere”, whilst others were happy yet were thinking play-offs as a limit.
The club have been breaking both own and L2 records so there is no doubt expectations have been exceeded
How firmly do you believe that automatic promotion is possible?
Very much so but based only on what we have achieved so far. Any other club’s fans would surely be the same that the impressive lead we have built would now almost be scandalous if we chucked away a top three position come May.
This January, defender Ethan Light has been brought in from Burnham and Jordan Lyden has joined the club too. What are your thoughts on these signings and who/what else would you like to be recruited?
There is much talk about our Jan window. In my own opinion it is a difficult window to get right for any club. Wellens talked about the need for a CB, a number 4, a number 10 and another attacking player / striker. We have 50% of those and there is a bit of panic among some to add at least a striker because of the recent lack of goals. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree that we need maybe one attacking option to freshen things up and or to give the midfield and attacking options a boost but it has to be the right player and not a sign of desperation that could end up upsetting the apple cart of a complete failure and waste of money.
The new signings – Lydon has had his injury problems but won promotion under Wellens at this level so is interesting. The two new CB’s bring both youth and experience whilst Light will be in our academy and hopefully one for the future.
Gaffer Richie Wellens, formerly of Salford and Doncaster Rovers, was appointed manager last March. Current thoughts on him, His playing style and his relationship with fans?
Everyone loves him. With a damn near 50% win ratio who wouldn’t! His playing style is fresh and exciting and his record thus far stands up to the closest scrutiny. If he finishes the job this year then statues are planned! Haha
What are your thoughts on the manner that O’s Chairman Nigel Travis is running the club?
Decent. When the owners took over in 2017 the club was at rock bottom. Travis promised promotions every 3-4 years and we got out of non league in two and are in year four at L2 level so at the moment the plans have been met. Club owners could of course always do more but at the moment you would be hard pressed to find something to whine about.
Forward Paul Smyth can be described as Orient’s key player, with nine goals in 27 games, but who else do we need to keep an eye out for and where will the key battles be played out at Prenton Park?
Until Stevenage our strength was defensively (we all hope last Saturday was a blip with new players joining and yet to bed in properly).
Jordan Brown (ex Derby youth captain) has been a revelation in both defence and midfield and is key.
It’s likely that our defensive solidity will return (Beckles & James are both back from suspension) so it will come down to the more burning question of can we find the net. Key battle – Tranmere’s defence versus our attack.
Score prediction for the game? The last meeting between the two side’s was at Brisbane Road in September. A 2-0 Orient victory with a goal from Smyth and an own goal netted by Rovers full-back Josh Cogley.
Heart (which is pumping a bit faster at the moment) says a win for us. Head says if we do it’ll be us squeaking it by the smallest of margins. Happy to take a scrappy 1-0 but can see a 0-0 draw on the cards.
If you have any, what are your thoughts on Tranmere and their performances this season? Were you perhaps expecting more from The Whites?
At this level and as I said earlier in the season I think most L2 fans always expect Tranmere to be towards the top of the table. Rovers, like us, are likely more of a third tier club than Div 4 but not in a big headed way for either of us.
The ground and set up at Tranmere says L1 but of course this is a tough division. Would certainly have expected them to be a few spots at least further up than where they are at this stage but then again looking at the table it is so tight and three wins in a row would likely see them right on the coattails of top seven. Certainly I think a 15th place finish would be seen as, at least, some sort of failure in the home ends come May.
Micky Mellon’s Tranmere will be looking for their first home win of The New Year when they play host to Richie Wellens’ Leyton Orient side who were heavily defeated last time out against Stevenage.