Exeter City v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – St James Park – Saturday 1pm – Preview
Peter Kitchen focused on the significant points of the new era at Leyton Orient under Jobi McAnuff following the East Londoners single-goal success at Sky Bet League Two basement club, Grimsby Town.
The O’s headed north without a win in seven outings, a run which ultimately cost Head Coach, Ross Embleton his job. However, a goal midway through the opening period from substitute, Dan Happe was enough to arrest the slump and keep the O’s fragile play-off aspirations alive for the time being.
“It was vital for Jobi to get that first win under his belt but overall it wasn’t a good performance,” Kitchen told Yellow Sport.
“It was often scrappy, with a lot of stray passing. But significantly, we looked more creative. It felt more positive, we tried to play at a higher tempo with more attacking intent. Nevertheless, Exeter will provide far more of a challenge than a dire Grimsby side, seemingly heading for the National League.
“But there is a different feel about Orient. Jobi has a groundswell of backing and support from the Orient faithful. It is an opportunity to draw a line under a significant period of treading water and inject some direction and ambition back into a team that has been performing well below it’s potential.”
Kitchen continued: “Jobi started with a 4-3-3 system, but made several changes, leaving himself out of the squad to focus solely on the teams’ performance.
“Most significantly for me was the return of Joe Widdowson at left-back and James Brophy moving to an attacking role where I have long-advocated his effect.
“The loss of recent signing, Adam Thompson with a suspected fractured ankle was a huge blow. But the change of mindset was evident. Orient got the job done.”
Looking ahead to another mammoth trip, this time to Exeter City, Kitchen added: “The Grecians have spent most of the season in and around the play-off places, but have slipped to ninth following a recent wobble.
“They have a game in hand over Salford in seventh, so this is a vital game for the West Countrymen, who must win to stay in touch.
“But with a number of teams vying for a top-seven place and consistency coming at a premium, this presents Jobi and the O’s with an opportunity to take something.
“If we replicate the attitude from Tuesday and can find a little more edge in front of goal, then I think we can take another step in the right direction and perhaps salvage something from the season in terms of consistency and performances.”
Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Exeter City 1-1 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Exeter City 2-1 Leyton Orient