Orient skipper Clarke calls on fans to rally ahead of tricky Preston trip
15:09 12 February 2014
Three consecutive defeats have seen Orient’s promotion charge start to come off the rails.
But captain Nathan Clarke is calling on the club’s fans to get behind the team – starting with Saturday’s tricky trip to Preston.
“Preston will be really difficult, they’re right on our coattails now and we’ll need to stand up and be counted,” the skipper said.
“The manager has asked for a reaction and it’s up to the players to give him that.
“The fans have been right behind us this season, we’ve been getting 5,000 or 6,000 into Brisbane Road which is great, but we need that to continue.”
The Lilywhites, who are likely to include Clarke’s younger brother and former O’s loanee Tom in their defence, are in decent form.
They have lost only two of 18 League One games – against the current top two Brentford and Wolves – but the Orient defender is determined the players won’t throw away the team’s excellent start.
“We need to get out of this rut we’re in at the moment and get back to the form that got us in this position,” he said.
“We worked so hard in the beginning part of the season. I’m lost for words really, I’m not sure what the performance was down to.
“We’ve thrown away a really good chance, especially the last two games. It has been frustrating.”
The goalkeeping position is proving a real problem for Orient, who remain third in the table.
The defence was a rock behind first choice Jamie Jones before his back injury, and Eldin Jakupovic proved a steady presence after coming in from Hull.
But since the Swiss international’s return to his parent club, Ben Alnwick and Shwan Jalal have become the fourth and fifth stoppers used by the O’s this season.
Clarke says it has been ‘difficult’ for the defence.
“You get to know one guy and then you get a new guy in,” he added.
“But it’s one of those things – it happens in football. We’ve been a bit unfortunate in that department.
“It’s all about being positive now. There’s nobody more disappointed than the players in the dressing room.
“But we need to bounce back as quickly as possible and get the fans behind us again. The last week has been a bit of a kick in the teeth but we’ve got to put it behind us.”