O’s bore draw
Orient boss Russell Slade believes a watertight defensive unit will trigger an upturn in the club’s away form.
The O’s have not won on their travels in League One since January when Scott McGleish struck the winner in a 1-0 victory against Charlton at The Valley. Since their triumph over the Addicks, Orient have drawn four and lost 10 on the road.
Recent away wins against Swindon Town and Brighton in the Carling Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, have punctuated the O’s home sickness, but cup runs offer no solace from a relegation battle.
After two successive clean sheets at Brisbane Road, Slade is hoping fifth from bottom Orient continue to guard their goal with defiance as they prepare for trips to Oldham and Sheffield Wednesday.
“There are no easy games in his division as we know. We’re going north and they’re going to be difficult battles,” said the former Yeovil Town boss. “We feel we’re in a better position now in terms of our defensive work and I feel that’s going to be very important to us on our trips away from home. The two clean sheets will help our confidence.”
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The O’s followed up Saturday’s 1-0 win over Brentford at Brisbane Road with a dire 0-0 draw at home to Walsall on Tuesday night, which has helped the east Londoners step away from the relegation trap door in League One.
But the midweek deadlock against the Saddlers has to be seen as a missed opportunity for Slade’s troops, with Chris Hutchings’ team entering the game off the back of five successive defeats in League One.
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Orient came close to claiming all three points in E10 when a deflected shot from Adam Chambers hit the post and a header from Alex Revell was tipped over by goalkeeper Jon Brain.
Barring these rare moments of excitement, there was little for Slade to enthuse about.
“There was nothing in it in the first half. Credit to Walsall they made life difficult for us,” said the Orient boss. “We huffed and puffed in the first half. In the second period I felt we had the chances – we hit the post with Chambers and there were a few other opportunities.
“The first goal was key and we didn’t manage to get it. If we had of scored I think we could been talking about a different story.”
But the 25-minute display of Tottenham loanee Paul-Jose M’Poku, who replaced Chambers in the second half, whet Slade’s appetite for the future.
“We were looking for a bit more width and we put the young boy on. He’s got good feet and he managed to get the ball in a couple of times, unfortunately we weren’t able to get a goal from it,” said the 49-year-old.
“He’s one for the future for Spurs and we want to get the best out of his services over the time he’s with us. He can create things and make things happen – that’s what we’re after. To have someone like Paul around is great.”
The midfielder joined Orient on a one month loan on Friday.