Skipper Dawson targets victory over former team-mate Dickov

Orient are going to have to mix finesse with grit if they’re going to get a win at Oldham, according to captain skipper Stephen Dawson.

LEYTON ORIENT captain Stephen Dawson has warned his team-mates to prepare for spoiler tactics as they gear up for a battle against Oldham Athletic on Saturday, writes Ben Welch.

After a disappointing goalless draw at home to Walsall on Tuesday night, the O’s travel to Boundary Park to take on Paul Dickov’s Latics this weekend.

The former Arsenal player has guided his team to ninth, just two points off the play-off places, which is in stark contrast to Orient’s miserable start as they hover uncomfortably above the League One drop zone.

Having started his career at Leicester City with Dickov and his assistant manager Gerry Taggart, Dawson knows it’s going to be tin hats and fixed bayonets at the ready on Saturday.

“I know Dickov and Taggart from my time at Leicester and they’ve started off the season very well,” said the 24-year-old. “They will be a very hard working team – very compact.

“It might be another scrappy game. I don’t think they’ll let us play football, so we’ll have to be on our very best game to get anything out of it. It’s a tough place to go.”

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Boundary Park is not a happy hunting ground for Orient. The last time they won there in any competition was 1986, when the east Londoners secured a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup.

Their league record is even more miserable – the O’s haven’t beaten the Latics on their own turf for 30 years. A 1-0 win in the old Division Two was the last time Orient tasted victory in the north west.

Russell Slade’s men will have to make a vast improvement on their midweek performance if they’re to break a dismal run of form at Boundary Park – the previous six meetings have produced three draws and three losses.

Dawson admitted the dressing room was a grim place after the stalemate with the Saddlers.

“All credit to Walsall they came here for one game only and that was to defend, get 10 men behind the ball and get a point,” said the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international.

“They were on a bad run (five straight losses) – we all knew that – this was a great chance for us to get three points and it’s disappointing because we set our own standards as players and we went in there (the dressing room) and probably felt like we lost the game.

“We should be beating teams like Walsall.”

Having beaten Brentford 1-0 at Brisbane Road on Saturday, the former Bury midfielder remained upbeat about Orient’s chances of climbing the table and focused on the positives from the draw against Chris Hutchings’ team.

“Let’s not get too frustrated - there are plenty of positives to take from the game (against Walsall), even though it’s only a draw and everyone is down,” said Dawson.

“I said to the boys in there we’ve played a lot better in the last couple of weeks and lost those games. It’s way too early to be saying we’re going to be there all season.

“If we continue to play the football we do play then nine times out of 10 I think we’re going to be comfortable in this league.”

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