Kitch calls on O’s to relax and play

Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town – Sky Bet League One – Brisbane Road – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Relax and play is the message Peter Kitchen has sent out to the Leyton Orient players ahead of the final furlong of what has been a satisfactory first season back in Sky Bet League One.

The O’s entertain struggling Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Speaking to Yellow Sport, the former O’s frontman said: “With any hopes of us reaching the play-offs ended over Easter, Richie Wellens and his players’ attention will now focus on the season finale and with just five games left, they will hopefully still be intent on trying to complete the season with a strong and positive finish. 

“Richie’s biggest enemy might be complacency because we are comfortably placed in tenth with no threat of relegation and seemingly little to play for. However, after such a promising season back in League One and with play-off hopes still a possibility only last week, it would be a travesty if the team were to let it slip now with a stuttering end to the season. 

“What should keep the players focussed is that the results of three of the five games remaining will have a direct bearing on issues at the top and bottom of the Sky Bet League One table. I expect therefore that they will face some big challenges in these games and be pushed all the way by these opponents still desperate for the points.”

Kitchen continued: “With automatic promotion or relegations issues foremost in the minds of second-placed Derby County, second-bottom Fleetwood Town and this Saturday’s opposition Cheltenham Town, all three will certainly be playing for more than just pride. 

“Richie will I’m sure not let his players go through the motions and will demand that they try and maintain the same level of performances the fans have come to expect. Cheltenham come to E10 fighting for their League One survival and for them, this is a game they can’t afford to lose and more likely be looking to take all three points. 

“Of the bottom five teams, they probably have the best chance of escaping the drop because they are only three points behind fifth-bottom Burton Albion with two games in hand. They also have to play both Burton and next up after us they face bottom club Carlisle United, winning for them is paramount.”

Kitchen concluded: “We fortuitously beat the Robins 2-1 at their Completely-Suzuki stadium back in mid-December, a result which kickstarted our eight-match unbeaten run from Christmas onwards. However, in that game, we had a huge slice of luck with two own goals in added time and we’ve since lost several influential players through injury and our squad is depleted and looking quite threadbare. 

“Understandably, we are in a poor run of form due to the player absentees through injury and have only won one of our last six games, scoring just twice in those games. 

“We should expect a very competitive game from the Robins and we will need to produce the same work rate and level of performance that we had at Stevenage recently, otherwise, our poor run might continue.”     

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Leyton Orient 1-1 Cheltenham Town

Jeevesie’s prediction: Leyton Orient 1-0 Cheltenham Town

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk