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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Manager asks for assistance at Wembley
Russell Slade has called on Leyton Orient’s army of fans to help complete the club’s “extraordinary journey” by roaring them to promotion against Rotherham United at Wembley on Sunday.
The O’s face the South Yorkshire side in the League One play-off final in the hope of returning to football’s second tier for the first time since 1982.
The Brisbane Road outfit saw their ticket allocation increased to 25,000 this week and their manager believes the supporters have a major role to play on the day.
Slade said: “It will be unbelievable and we want as many fans there as possible to replicate the support they gave us in the semi-final games against Peterborough.
“Anybody at that home second leg last week will know that the atmosphere and feeling of togetherness was the very best it’s been in my four years at the club.
“There was a massive will to win – both on and off the pitch – and we want to show that again on Sunday.”
The O’s will have had a 12-day period to prepare for the final after completing their 3-2 aggregate victory over the Posh.
And Slade insists the spirit in the camp could not be any more positive.
He said: “The mood is as good as it’s always been.
“We gave the boys a three-day break over the weekend, which I think they needed, but we returned to training on Monday and were straight back on it.”
Orient beat Rotherham 1-0 at home in October, but slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the New York Stadium in February.
The O’s are once again considered the underdogs, despite finishing ahead of the fourth-placed Millers on goal difference.
But Slade shrugs off what the bookies have to say and believes it will be a very tight affair.
He said: “Nothing has changed – we were considered the outsiders before the semi-final and yet we’ve made it to Wembley.
“Rotherham are a strong, physical side, but they have pace and get crosses into the box.
“They are fairly direct and present a threat in the likes of [former O’s striker] Alex Revell and [26-goal hitman] Kieran Agard, who has been tremendous.
“I think it will be a very even game.”
Slade, who was recently named joint League One Manager of the Year, admits promotion would be his greatest achievement.
“I think it pretty much would be,” he said. “It’s been an extraordinary journey anyway and it’s quite remarkable what this group of players have achieved.
“It’s one of the club’s greatest ever achievements to come this far – and in modern times certainly the best.”