With City having ended their run of league defeats with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Morecambe on Tuesday night, the games continue to come thick and fast with the second of three lengthy away trips in the space of just over a week against an opposition who will be eager for revenge. Paul Tisdale rang the changes on Tuesday, making five changes to the line-up which had done so well against Liverpool and going with a 3-man (or 5-man, depending on your stance) defence. Jayden Stockley made an instant impact with a lively display and a debut goal, and the Bournemouth loanee will hope to start again alongside 10-goal Tom Nichols. Tom McCready caught the eye too but will face stiff competition for his place especially if Tisdale decides to bring back some of those rested in midweek.
While Leyton Orient remain something of a soap opera off the pitch thanks to their colourful owner who seems to think nothing of kicking coaching staff after matches, the Os under the stewardship of Ian Hendon remain very much in the promotion hunt although having drawn 10 matches so far they need to turn some of those draws into wins if they are to seriously challenge. Five of their last seven league matches have ended level, including their last fixture on January 2nd which finished 2-2 at Stevenage. A trip to Chelsea also went begging after a replay defeat to Scunthorpe. With their midfield talisman Dean Cox injured for the season there is one obvious danger man, the hottest property in League Two Jay Simpson, who has notched an incredible 20 goals already. It seems to be that if you contain Simpson you contain the whole side as no other player has more than three league goals this season (one of those Cox).
The reverse fixture produced one of the more eye-catching results of the season to date, as a Leyton Orient side with a 100% record arrived in Devon brimming with confidence and by all accounts played well, a fact not reflected in the 4-0 scoreline as City counter-attacked to great effect with goals from Nichols (two, both penalties), Nicholls and Wheeler. City don’t seem to enjoy their visits to East London, their last win a stunning 3-0 victory in 95/96, while the last time the sides met at Brisbane Road it again finished 3-0 but this time to the hosts in 11/12, the goals coming from Lisbie (two penalties) and Tehoue. The Os hold a slight Football League head to head lead with 32 wins to City’s 28 (23 draws).