It would be easy to say that the O’s promotion push has hit the buffers.
After four wins in an eventful January, just what has gone wrong in less than two weeks of the new month – although critics might say February is the new August. Normally, the first month of the season has seen us struggle.
But all teams go through a blip no matter their position in the table and perhaps it’s our turn. The defeats against Rotherham and Peterborough were certainly hard to take.
So, given Bristol City’s poor form – with only five wins before their trip to Brisbane Road – it should have been a nailed-on three points for the hosts.
Third from top versus third from bottom should have made us red-hot favourites to get the promotion juggernaut back on the road.
Last night however just served to show that anyone can beat anyone in this division and maybe the Robins are showing glimpses of what might have been when arguably so much was expected of them at the start of the season.
Make no bones about it; they are still in serious trouble at the wrong end of the table. And, whilst the O’s appear to be treading water at this very moment, we haven’t the worry of a relegation battle on our hands.
Just look at the table. Teams like Tranmere, Oldham and Notts County – they are the usual relegation suspects and closest rivals during a ‘normal’ Orient season of struggle and stuck in the low 30 points region.
Only this time around we have gleaned enough points to at least have a say in the promotion/play-off shake-up at the end of the season.
Preston are up next and whatever the result, they cannot overtake us due to the five-point cushion we enjoy over the Deepdale side. Indeed, they are probably rubbing their hands with glee having probably had their scouts watching our last few games.
However, we have a good recent record at North End – a battling draw last season and a Marc Laird-inspired double saw us to an unlikely victory the campaign before. So Saturday won’t be a gimmie for a side who are fancied for automatic promotion.
But since their victory at Leyton in November they have flattered to deceive. Although given home advantage and a traditionally partisan home crowd, the pressure will certainly be on them to grab the points. It’s probably just the way the gaffer would like to be going into this clash.
Keep the faith,
Up the O’s.