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Leyton Orient captain Nathan Clarke confident O's can maintain League One challenge throughout the season
7:00am Thursday 26th September 2013 in Latest Sport
Nathan Clarke admits the mood in the Leyton Orient camp is “fantastic” at the moment and is confident the O’s can maintain a title challenge even after their winning run eventually comes to an end.
Orient made it eight wins out of eight on Monday night with a hard-fought victory over Brentford and the O’s captain was the visitors’ best player, exuding confidence from the heart of defence and making two excellent last-ditch tackles.
Orient are now just two wins away from equalling the club record of ten wins in a row, registered 57 years ago, but Clarke insists the players are just enjoying their excellent form.
“At the moment the games are coming thick and fast which is brilliant for us,” Clarke said.
“Training is really high intensity — it’s good playing with the lads, it’s a great bunch of lads here and it’s a close-knit group and it’s really enjoyable playing with them.”
He continued: “The confidence has been there from day one, the confidence is fantastic and whoever comes up next it’s a massive game for us.
“If we can break another record then that’s fantastic but as soon as another game comes it’s another big challenge for us.”
Orient are now five points clear at the top of League One and ten points away from being outside the play-offs.
If they need a warning of how quickly the table can change however, the O’s need look no further than last season when Tranmere Rovers were unbeaten after wining nine of their first 12 games.
Rovers crashed in the second half of the season and ended up finishing 11th.
Clarke insists Orient are not getting ahead of themselves though, and that when the winning run does end, the players’ reaction will be important.
“I am confident we can keep the challenge going even after the run comes to an end,” Clarke said. “We’re not kidding ourselves, we know we’re on a good run at the moment, but there are teams capable of beating each other in this league whatever run anyone is on.
“So we have to be careful of that and be ready for the disappointment and when that does happen we’ll have to look at it and address it.”
He added: “I can believe the run we’re on in a way, I think the performances have merited where we are at the moment and the run continues.”
Clarke and his central defence partner Mathieu Baudry were both superb at Griffin Park, in-form striker David Mooney opened the scoring and substitute Shaun Batt sealed the win with a second goal.
And Clarke believes the all-round contribution from the whole Orient squad has been key to the success so far this season.
“I think our strikers were the difference against Brentford – you’ve seen there with [Kevin] Lisbie getting subbed and we bring on Shaun [Batt] and he creates a different problem,” he said.
“He got the goal which he deserves because he works hard and it’s not easy at the moment for people who are still on form but because the team are doing do well they’re having to take a back seat for now.
“Batts is on fire and it’s unfortunate for him because in training he’s doing exactly the same as he does in matches – it’s no different – but the way this team’s playing at the moment it’s hard for the manager to change it.”
It’s not just the Orient players who are enjoying the club’s success. Despite the game being on a week night and televised on Sky Sports, 859 O’s fans travelled to Brentford on Monday night.
“They turned up in numbers like they always have,” Clarke added. “From the start of the season they’ve got right behind us, it was another full away end against Brentford.
“It’s fantastic for the lads to run out and see that and hear the support right to the end – it gives you that extra buzz to do it for them and for the club.”
On Saturday, Orient host Walsall who are seventh in the table and unbeaten in three.