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Club News

The inside track on Leyton Orient

7 October 2022

Club News

The inside track on Leyton Orient

7 October 2022

Rovers face league leaders Leyton Orient at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday.

Gary McSheffrey’s side are looking to get back to winning ways after being beaten at Hartlepool United on Tuesday night.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Head coach

Former Rovers player and boss Richie Wellens was appointed as Leyton Orient head coach in March.

As a player, he made more than 170 appearances across two spells in South Yorkshire, which included winning promotion to the Championship.

His playing days also included the likes of Blackpool, Oldham, and Leicester City, who were the club he joined when he initially left Rovers in the summer of 2009.

The 42-year-old’s managerial career began with Oldham in 2017, before he joined Swindon Town and enjoyed his first real success in the dugout. He won promotion from Sky Bet League Two as champions in the 2019/20 campaign, before departing to join Salford.

Short spells with the Ammies and Rovers followed, before he joined Orient, where he has found his feet once more in guiding the O’s to a great start the season.

Form

An unbeaten September earned Richie Wellens the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month award for the second time in a row this season.

Orient beat Tranmere Rovers, Rochdale and Walsall without conceding goal, before battling past Sutton United 3-1 on September 20. Arguably their best result of the season came with their last victory, a 2-0 win at fellow early season contenders Barrow.

They were brought back down to earth in their last league outing, as they suffered their first league defeat at home to Newport County, with former Rovers man Omar Bogle scoring the winner.

Key men

Welsh defender Tom James joined Orient on a permanent deal from Scottish side Hibernian in the summer of 2021.

After starting his career at Cardiff City, the right-back made just one substitute appearance for the Bluebirds before signing for Yeovil Town in 2017. He established himself in the team at Huish Park and went on to play almost 100 games, before his move to Hibernian.

He struggled to break into the team north of the border and spent time back in the EFL on loan at both Wigan Athletic and Salford City, with Orient his next move last summer.

Injuries limited him to just 26 appearances last term, but he’s put that behind him now and has already scored two goals from distance this time around.

Experienced midfielder George Moncur was something of a coup for Orient when they agreed a deal to sign him in the summer. 

A product of the West Ham United Academy, it was with Colchester United that he made his name in the EFL with close to 100 appearances over a two-year spell. After leaving the U’s, the 29-year-old featured for Barnsley, Peterborough United, Luton Town and Hull City over the course of the next six years.

A goal on his debut against Grimsby adhered him to the Orient fans immediately, and he has since struck in victories over both Hartlepool and Barrow.

Northern Irish forward Paul Smyth was another player brought in in the summer of 2021 after spells with several clubs in the EFL.

Following an impressive record in his homeland with Linfield, Smyth made the move to England in 2017 to sign for Queens Park Rangers. Over four years in West London, Smyth spent two loan spells with Accrington Stanley, as well as temporary switches to Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic.

The 25-year-old is now an integral part of Wellens’ plans in the capital, chipping in with four goals so far this season, including one in the victory at Barrow last month.

Last league meeting

Rovers ran out 4-1 winners when the two sides last met at Brisbane Road back in March 2017. A double from John Marquis, along with goals from Tommy Rowe and Mathieu Baudry sealed the win for Darren Ferguson’s side.

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