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Preview: Orient look to reignite automatic promotion hopes with Oldham victory

Shaun Batt celebrates his equaliser at Boundary Park. Pic by Simon O'Connor Shaun Batt celebrates his equaliser at Boundary Park. Pic by Simon O'Connor

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
1:00 PM

Orient welcome Oldham Athletic to Brisbane Road tonight with their League One automatic promotion hopes hanging by a thread.

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The O’s can confirm a play-off place tonight, if they pick up three points and MK Dons drop points at home to Gillingham.

But while a run of one win in four games has left the east Londoners playing catch up on Brentford and Wolves, Russell Slade has refused to give up on automatic promotion.

The manager said: “We need two big efforts in these home games (tonight and against Bradford on Saturday).

“Automatic promotion isn’t out of the question but it’s a big ask.”

The Latics picked up their first win in six games on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Crawley Town.

But the visitors still have relegation worries of their own, four points clear of the drop zone with eight games remaining.

Despite slipping further behind the top two – Wolves and Brentford both won at the weekend– captain Nathan Clarke is still focused on an automatic promotion spot, starting with two home wins.

The defender said: “With Wolves and Brentford both winning on Saturday we lost a little bit of ground on them.

“But we’ve got to concentrate on our own performances, win as many games as possible and make sure we capitalise on any slip-ups.

“With two home games it’s a great opportunity to get as many points as possible.

“The support we’ve been getting at home games has been fantastic and I hope that can continue.”

Romain Vincelot is suspended for two games after picking up his 10th booking of the season at Walsall - Jamie Ness or Marvin Bartley will come in for the Frenchman.

Shaun Batt is a doubt after withdrawing from the bench on Saturday with a virus while David Mooney picked up a knock to the head at the Bescot.

Batt scored Orient’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Oldham at Boundary Park in October.

“I’m not sure what the exact problem with Shaun is,” Slade explained.

“It’s not a muscle injury but he’s had a bit of a bug. He was struggling to move and breathe and the doctor pulled him out.

“Romain’s out for two games but we have midfielders who can come in.”

Oldham have lost on-loan midfielder Joel Byrom to a hamstring injury that will keep him out for a month.

Defender Genseric Kusunga is still out with a thigh problem.

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