Kitch calls for more of the same from in-form O’s

Brian Jeeves

Reading v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League One – Select Car Leasing Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Peter Kitchen spoke to Yellow Sport about Leyton Orient’s recent upturn in fortunes but insisted it is all about keeping their feet on the ground and to keep on doing exactly what they have been doing as they look to make further impressions in Sky Bet League One.

The O’s head to troubled Reading on Saturday: “So far this season, it’s not been usual for the O’s to go into a League One game as firm favourites to win, but it would take a betting man to gamble against them in their current form,” the former frontman explained.

“The O’s have won four and drawn one of their last five games, they have had five consecutive clean sheets and scored nine from their last six games, and this is from a side who had not scored more than two goals in a league game all season before they won 3-0 at Portsmouth.

“This run of form is all the more impressive in that it includes scintillating performances as well as well-deserved wins against League leaders Portsmouth at Fratton Park and last week’s 1-0 win at home to fourth-placed Bolton Wanderers.”

Kitchen continued: “A supporter asked me what I thought was behind this vast improvement in form, to which my off-the-cuff response, was that we have at last begun to score goals and we’re finally getting our own share of good fortune, when in several previous games it has gone against us.

“There are several other factors as to why I think we’re doing much better which I’ll elaborate below, but let’s first start with that ‘good fortune’ and the ‘get out of jail card’ which we got at lowly Cheltenham Town. We went into this game without a win in the previous seven and in the two games before Cheltenham, we had been dumped out of the FA Cup by National League Chesterfield and thrashed 3-0 at home to Derby County.

“At Cheltenham, when we were losing 1-0 and looked dead and buried, we were gifted two own goals in added time to end that poor run of results. After a first-half blitz in the subsequent game at Bolton Wanderers in December when we conceded three goals in the first ten minutes, we ended up narrowly beaten and we nearly rescued a point with a second-half fightback and two goals.

“Over a season, good and bad luck tends to even themselves out and there’s also a saying that you make your own luck and I think that’s what this team has done by continuing to believe in the way they are playing and to keep going until the final whistle with dogged determination when they just don’t give up trying.

“Over Christmas, we dug in and worked hard against Charlton and Wycombe, we didn’t play particularly well in either game but we earned points in these games by sticking at it and at Cambridge United on New Year’s Day, we eventually got it right, playing well and were the better team and we looked to have finally begun to take our chances with a 2-0 win.

“Certainly the recent introduction of a fit again Dan Agyei has been a factor, he gives us more of an attacking focus and has scored three in his last three games. His partnership with Shaq Forde has been especially productive and the pair have given us more tempo and movement up front. Theo Archibald appears to be playing in a more advanced position where he is most effective, and either Galbraith or Max Sanders centrally are linking up play and giving us a bit more going forward from midfield so we look more dangerous.

“At the back, we have had the settled pairing of Dan Happe and Omar Beckles at the heart of the defensive centre in all of these games and we again look more solid. Winning is self-motivating as it brings to the team a winning mentality and breeds confidence and belief in individuals and togetherness as a team.

“To add to our feel-good factor this week, we’ve added former Swansea loanee Brandon Cooper to give us defensive cover, and also signed talented winger and Republic of Ireland U21 International Ollie O’Neill from Fulham, both on permanent deals.”

Kitchen concluded: “Contrast this with our opponents Reading, an established Championship side until recently and who were last in the Premier League in 2012 but have been in turmoil for several seasons. They have been deducted points three seasons in a row and relegated from the Championship for failing to pay players, staff and HMRC on time and in full.

“They have been placed under a transfer embargo and served with a winding up petition and consequently have sold most of their established players and are left with the barest of squads to meet their match commitments.

“There have been several reported recent take-over bids, but until any of these materialise, then there seems to be no imminent end to the club’s problems. Their previous home game against Port Vale had to be abandoned when fans protested by doing a sit-in on the pitch and they lost the last away game 1-0 at Wigan Athletic.

“You have to feel sorry for the fans having to endure what appears to be another poor foreign ownership and it must be so disheartening for the players to keep battling not only on the field but against the tide off it as well, which is overwhelming the club.

However, the players are continuing to fight for their club and to show pride in their personal performances. In midweek they demonstrated this with a surprise 1-0 win over Derby County, so they will still be dangerous if we are overconfident.

We beat them 2-1 in E10 back in October and the current situation for them is far worse now and I just can’t see us getting beaten assuming we can continue to be consistent and play in our current modus operandum.”

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Reading 0-1 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Reading 1-3 Leyton Orient

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk