Leyton Orient v Exeter City – Sky Bet League Two – Breyer Group Stadium – Saturday 3pm – Preview
Peter Kitchen insisted that Leyton Orient have already provided plenty of evidence that they are ready to mount a serious Sky Bet League Two promotion push over the coming months.
A hard-earned draw at Salford City followed by a stirring second-half performance against Queen’s Park Rangers in the Carabao Cup offered plenty of encouragement for the E10 faithful and now Kitch is keen to see his former side chalk up their first three-point haul when Exeter City visit the Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“It is vital that we get a win under our belts,” Kitchen told Yellow Sport.
“If we can produce anything like that second-half display against QPR, then O’s won’t be a million miles away from where they want to be. The football was excellent, but the backing received from the returning supporters made a huge difference too.
“Our proverbial ‘twelfth man’ in the stands has got fully behind Kenny Jackett and are backing what he is doing. He showed huge respect for this competition by putting out a strong team against the Championship club.
“In fairness, we chased shadows for the opening thirty minutes. Rangers gave us a lesson in moving the ball around quickly, accurately and with purpose. We did remarkably well to keep the deficit to a single goal at the break
“But whatever Kenny changed or said to the players during the interval had the desired effect. We dominated after the restart, producing some exhilarating football – the best I’ve seen from Orient for several years. It was everything that has been missing from the team for the past eighteen months.”
“Aaron Drinan scored his first for the club and with better finishing from Happe and Sotiriou in the six-yard box, we’d have won the game in ninety minutes.
“Kenny seems to have settled on his preferred back four, with skipper Darren Pratley playing a holding role in the middle and linking up play. Kemp and Archibald were able to push forward and looked very creative. If we can recreate this performance in the league, with the high intensity then the goals will follow.”
Looking ahead to the Grecians visit, Kitchen added: “Exeter spent much of last season in or around the play-off places but fell away during the run-in.
“They will be hoping to progress this time around. Usually, Exeter finds goals easy to come by and are always one of the top-scoring teams in the division. But saying that, both of their opening matches – against Bradford City in the league and Wycombe Wanderers in the Carabao Cup – have finished goalless, suggesting they are a little more resolute these days.
“Either way, Exeter will be dangerous opponents, but having seen what Orient are capable of, I expect us to shade it.”
Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Leyton Orient 1-0 Exeter City
Jeevesie’s prediction: Leyton Orient 2-1 Exeter City