Orient aim to secure Christmas number one spot

Lloyd James celebrates his stunner at Bradford. Simon O'Connor

Lloyd James celebrates his stunner at Bradford. Simon O'Connor - Credit: Archant

Orient have the chances to secure League One’s top spot at Christmas when they take on Crawley at Brisbane Road tomorrow.

Orient boss Russell Slade

Orient boss Russell Slade - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

But the O’s know they will face a stiff test against the Sussex side who are looking to impress their new manager John Gregory.

The Reds fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against promotion-chasing Preston last weekend, with former Orient striker Gary Alexander scoring the crucial stoppage time equaliser.

Midfielder Lloyd James, who scored a spectacular goal in the draw with Bradford last weekend, thinks the whole squad will be needed in the busy festive period.

The 25-year-old said: “Players came in and took their chance well last weekend. ‘Simmo’ worked as hard as he could considering how much football he’s had and Batt was a constant threat out there for us.

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“We’ve got a great bunch of lads. Everyone gives 110 per cent and when you look at the person next to you and see them doing that it’s a real boost.

“We enjoy the expectation of being up there, there’s a great atmosphere in training and around the club at the moment. We’re not feeling the pressure.”

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The O’s home form has been excellent this season, and only one team has taken three points from Brisbane Road since Crawley won there in February.

The visitors are unbeaten since former Aston Villa and Derby boss Gregory took over and they lie 14th in the table.

Striker Kevin Lisbie might be fit enough to start his first game in almost a month having played the final 17 minutes against Bradford.

But fellow forward David Mooney serves the second of a three-match banning following his FA Cup sending off against Walsall.

The home side, who hold a one point lead at the top of the table, will be keen to pick up their first League One win in four games ahead of a busy Christmas period which also sees them take on Gillingham, promotion rivals Wolves, Bristol City and Yeovil in the FA Cup in the space of two weeks.

Probable teams: Orient: Jones; Cuthbert, Clarke, Baudry, Omozusi; Odubajo, Vincelot, James, Cox; Batt, Lisbie.

Crawley: Jones; Connolly, Walsh, McFadzean, Sadler; Adams, Bulman, Drury, Clarke; Sinclair, Alexander.

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