Leyton Orient v FC Halifax Town: Opposition focus

Actions from Halifax Town v Leyton Orient, at The Shay
Actions from Halifax Town v Leyton Orient, at The Shay

FC Halifax Town will face a Leyton Orient side on Saturday who are playing like champions, according to George Sessions, who covers the club for Archant London.

Orient are one point clear at the top of the National League with a game-in-hand over their title rivals.

They lost 2-1 at Bromley on Tuesday, which was only their seventh league defeat of the season, with 22 wins and 11 draws from their 40 league outings.

Justin Edinburgh’s side have the meanest defence in the fifth tier, having shipped just 30 goals, and have won eight of their last 10 matches in all competitions.

“Without sounding arrogant, Orient are playing like title winners,” said Sessions.

“At this stage of the season performances become second to the result and O’s have got the wins they have needed by hook or crook.

“They had nervy moments away to Havant & Waterlooville and Aldershot Town in March, but then by contrast produced brilliant professional displays to win against title rivals Wrexham and AFC Fylde.

“Justin Edinburgh and the squad seem to be relishing the pressure and the chance to do something historic and it has contributed towards this stunning run of form at just the right time.”

Sessions says Orient do not play much route one football unless it is absolutely necessary.

“Edinburgh has Orient playing slightly different to most in the National League because they do actually try to pass the ball around and play football..

“As a result, they have scored some wonderful goals this season, but recently set-pieces have been a source of goals and it shows O’s can adapt very well.

“I suspect Orient will try to pass the ball around and put crosses into the area and get Macauley Bonne and Josh Koroma linking up with each other on Saturday, although don’t be surprised if goals do come from corners.”

When asked who Orient’s dangermen will be on Saturday, Sessions, speaking before Marvin Ekpiteta’s red card at Bromley on Tuesday which means he is now suspended, said: “This is tricky because naturally you look at Macauley Bonne and Josh Koroma given the goals they have scored this season, but the former is slowly working his way back to top form again after a lull and Koroma has only just returned from injury.

“Strangely enough, the dangermen could be Josh Coulson and Marvin Ekpiteta given they have scored a number of vital goals over the last six weeks despite being centre backs!

“Orient will definitely be without Myles Judd (hamstring) and Jordan Maguire-Drew (calf) with the duo unlikely to feature in the league again this season.

“Sam Ling and Jamie Turley (both hamstring) have also been absent of late, but both could be close to returning soon. Whether this game with Halifax comes to soon, is hard to say.”

Likely line-up: (3-4-1-2) Brill; Coulson, Ekpiteta, Happe; Brophy, Clay, McAnuff ©, Widdowson; Koroma, Bonne, Harrold.