Ekpiteta: We all want Wembley trip in the FA Trophy
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 March 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
The ex-East Thurrock United centre back discussed playing up to eight times in March and the O's momentum
Leyton Orient are two games away from a Wembley final and Marvin Ekpiteta says the squad’s motivation to reach the national stadium is very high.
The O’s will forget about the National League for a short period of time as they do battle with AFC Telford United in the FA Trophy semi-finals over the next two weekends.
Orient will host the first leg in E10 this Saturday, before they make the trip north to Shropshire on March 23 with a place at Wembley the reward.
Although Justin Edinburgh’s team have enjoyed plenty of success in the division of late, turning their focus to the FA Trophy is not a bad thing says one of their best performers this season.
“I think this competition is good and even for the boys who play in the league regularly because we all want to play at Wembley,” Ekpiteta said.
“We will need the fans for the next two legs and then hopefully for the final if we get there, so they will be very important.”
Orient had a crowd of 6,643 watch Saturday’s top-of-the-table encounter with Wrexham and they played a key part in helping O’s over the line.
A similar crowd is not expected this weekend, but the east London support will be strong again and Telford will bring a decent number down too.
It is hard to know what Edinburgh will do with team selection, given he went with his full-strength XI at Brackley Town in the last eight.
With Orient winning 2-1 away to Aldershot Town in the league on Tuesday night, if he does pick his so-called best team, they will have to contend with a quick turnaround.
However, Ekpiteta insists the squad are relishing the chance to play a lot of games in a short period of time with O’s set to feature in eight matches in the month of March.
“Playing Saturday and Tuesday is good because it can help you build momentum and the way we are going we just need to keep going,” he said.
Orient are big favourites to make the final at Wembley, but Telford are more than capable of a shock as they showed in the previous round.
Gavin Cowan’s Lilywhites dumped Solihull Moors out of the FA Trophy following an impressive 2-1 win away at the Birmingham-based club.
In the league, Telford, like O’s, are going for promotion and they appear likely to be in the play-off mix come the end of the campaign.
For now, both teams will focus on silverware though and after knocking out two National League North sides already, Orient will aim for a hat-trick over the next two weeks.