Mansfield Town v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Breyer Group Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview
It’s rapidly turning into a Sky Bet League Two season to forget for Leyton Orient.
Beaten by promotion-chasing Newport County at the Breyer Group Stadium on Tuesday evening, the East Londoners appeared low on energy, confidence and ideas as their stop-start campaign continues to provide more questions than answers over the O’s ability to challenge for a top-seven spot.
Cameron Norman’s late winner extended the O’s winless sequence to five matches in all competitions. Former frontman, Peter Kitchen, a frustrated spectator as Kenny Jackett’s men slumped to their third defeat in four outings.
“It looks increasingly like the wheels have come off the Orient Express. It was a disastrous result and we never looked like scoring,” Kitch told Yellow Sport.
“This was our fifth game without a win and the fourth in that run without scoring a goal. We have only taken one point from a possible six this week against sides in and around us. These were matches we really had to win.
“I wouldn’t deny the fact that the players worked hard against the South Wales outfit. But it was mostly in the wrong area. We looked predictable going forward and rarely troubled the County goalkeeper. It’s a difficult time for Kenny as he’s had his most influential and creative players missing. Consequently, the supply to Smith and Drinan has dried up, but he needs to find another way to provide service to his frontmen – try a different tactical approach to turning things around.”
Orient slipped to fourteenth after Salford, Bradford and Bristol Rovers all won during the week: “We have been busy in the transfer window, completing the signings of four players during the week, showing the clubs intent and ambition,” Kitchen added
“But while the new additions all come with potential and give a positive vibe for the future, whether they can add impetus to the O’s season remains to be seen.
“The new boys find themselves coming into a team that is struggling to recapture their winning formula, last seen against Swindon in early December.
“You have to feel sympathy for their plight, largely brought about by the postponement of four games – all beyond their control. They now face a backlog with a challenging run of games against teams above them, starting at in-form Mansfield Town on Saturday.
“The Stags have won ten of their last eleven matches and have climbed into the play-off places as a result following a difficult start to the season. We follow this with a trip to Bradford City. Another club starting to put it together.
“It’s tough, but what Kenny will demand is for his players to keep working hard individually and collectively and hope for a change of fortune and a rub of the green.”
Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Mansfield Town 1-0 Leyton Orient
Jeevesie’s prediction: Mansfield Town 2-0 Leyton Orient