Kitch, insistent that there’s plenty to prove for O’s

Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United – Sky Bet League Two – Breyer Group Stadium – Friday (3pm) – Swindon Town v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – The County Ground – Monday (3pm) – Preview

Peter Kitchen believes there is still plenty to be gathered from Leyton Orient’s remaining Sky Bet League Two fixtures, starting with this weekend’s contrasting encounters with Scunthorpe United and Swindon Town.

“The Easter fixtures are usually very important in sorting out a lot of the promotion and relegation issues and this year will be no different,” the former frontman told Yellow Sport.

“Admittedly, we are comfortably placed and can enjoy our football, play without fear or pressure. But Richie Wellens will want the players to show him and the fans what they are capable of, indicating what areas need to be strengthened ahead of next season and against sides at each end of the League Two spectrum.

“As far as I’m concerned, the results might not appear to be crucial, but the performances of the players individually and collectively will be hugely significant. Some players are playing for their livelihoods, new contracts or as loanees, the chance of a permanent move and are still trying to impress the new man and show him they have a future at the club.

“The Manager is still assessing the ability of some of his squad and may try different systems or tactics knowing he can change it if things aren’t working.

However, it’s a different scenario for Scunthorpe, who come to E10 in the knowledge that their 70-plus year stay in the Football League will be over if they lose. Meanwhile, Monday’s opponents, Swindon are battling for the play-offs. They will be going all-out for the three points. In both cases, we must respect the competition and try to win the games.

“To be honest, Scunthorpe’s position is terminal as they are thirteen points behind second-bottom Stevenage. Avoiding defeat is only delaying the inevitable. But they have been a bogey team for the O’s. We can’t take them for granted because their players will put up a fight with their professional pride and livelihoods at stake. No doubt they will park the bus and make it difficult for us.

“Swindon Town are currently eleventh in the table, four points behind Newport County in seventh, who they lost at home to last week. They still have a game in hand and will believe themselves capable of reaching the top seven. If they win their Good Friday game at Harrogate, they will be even more determined for the three points when we are there on Monday.

Kitchen continued: “After last week’s defeat at Sutton United, Wellens will have learned a little more about his players who started slowly and didn’t get going until the second half. But by then the damage had been done, we were a goal down and chasing the game. That mindset is something the Manager needs to change.

“Winning teams have a proactive mindset, not a reactive one. They set out their stall with their style of play and impose themselves on games from the very first minute. That’s what the O’s have to do to be promotion challengers next season.

“It’s the ideal time for Wellens to get the players in the right frame of mind, a good attitude and a winning mentality. He’ll do this if the team start on the front foot, sets the tempo, dictates play and takes the game to the opposition. We must finish the season strongly to generate confidence and momentum and try and take as many points as we can and win as many games as possible.

“I know the Manager may want to try different systems and players and to look at fringe players, but I would urge Richie not to make wholesale changes to the team so he doesn’t reverse the advances he’s made already with the team’s confidence, rhythm and balance. Trialling one or two players and using substitutions might be a better way to go. If he does try a different system or tactical approach, he can change this if it doesn’t appear to be working.

“If he has already made up his mind about some loanees, then it will be more advantageous to look at some of the promising youngsters rather than loanees who will return to the parent club at the end of the season.

“With a strong finish and other results going in our favour we can reach twelfth-place which would be quite a turnaround from the situation and league position when Matt Harrold took temporary charge at Colchester on March 1.

“The O’s can take at least four points from six over Easter. I think we will relegate the unfortunate Iron and frustrate the Robins by taking a point, setting us up for a progress report match on Saturday week when high-flying Northampton Town come to E10.”

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Leyton Orient 2-0 Scunthorpe United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Leyton Orient 3-0 Scunthorpe United

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Swindon Town 1-1 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Swindon Town 1-0 Leyton Orient

Brian Jeeves