Peter Kitchen: O’s must find a way to goal

Leyton Orient v Hartlepool United – Sky Bet League Two – Breyer Group Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Peter Kitchen is hoping Leyton Orient can end their barren spell in front of goal when fellow Sky Bet League Two promotion hopefuls, Hartlepool United head to the Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday.

The O’s are without a win in six league outings, drawing five while scoring just two goals in their last four matches, a sequence that has seen them slip out of the play-off places.

“Kenny Jackett must find a cure to the problem,” Kitchen told Yellow Sport.

“Defensively, we have been quite sound. It’s quite clear where the problem lies.

“Whilst the defensive solidarity of playing three centre backs has provided the foundation for the teams’ defensive strength, making us difficult to beat, I think this is at the detriment of our attacking play.

“Having played as a striker in this system myself with several teams, it does create a few issues which can affect the balance of the team. Are we sitting too deep and isolating forwards, or playing in front of opposing defences and not getting players in behind them or enough players forward quickly enough? This is very apparent if we continually hit long aimless balls forward to Smith. We must get players around him quickly to pick up the second ball.”

Kitchen continued: “I would like to see us play with a back four and go back to the high-press tactics that we used in the earlier games, especially at home. Try to put the opposition under pressure in the final third where we can capitalise on defensive errors.”

Hartlepool’s form has been notable of late: “They are just outside the play-off places, three points ahead of us,” the former frontman added.

“They have won three of their last four matches, all against teams in the top half of the table, scoring three in each of their last two against Northampton Town and Harrogate town, sitting third and fifth respectively.

“Kenny Jacket will not be panicking, but he will be concerned. He is an experienced manager who has tasted success. I am sure he will be looking at the effectiveness of the system, availability and combination of players he uses all the time. But this game is one we desperately need to win, putting us back into contention.

“With our current form taken into account, and from the point of view that we are playing a promotion rival, this is starting to look like a ‘must win’ game. Hartlepool will be content with at least a point. It will be my first ‘live’ visit to E10 this season and it’s a match I’m relishing the opportunity to see.”

Peter Kitchen’s prediction: Leyton Orient 1-1 Hartlepool United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Leyton Orient 0-0 Hartlepool United


Brian Jeeves

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