O’s look to mind the gap against Brighton

ORIENT entertain struggling Brighton on Saturday, desperate to maintain the gap between themselves and the basement boys, writes TREVOR DAVIES. O s, who started the New Year in the relegation zone, could not have wished for a better January. Two wins and

ORIENT entertain struggling Brighton on Saturday, desperate to maintain the gap between themselves and the basement boys, writes TREVOR DAVIES.

O's, who started the New Year in the relegation zone, could not have wished for a better January.

Two wins and a draw lifted them out of the drop zone and they went into last night's (Tuesday's) rearranged home game with Bristol Rovers knowing that a win could lift them into the top half of the table, such is the ridiculously tight nature of League One.

Saturday's fixture against the Seagulls gives Geraint Williams' side another chance to continue their climb up the table.


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But although Brighton are struggling near the foot of the table, new manager Gus Poyet will be keen to make an impression and the Seagulls swooped to sign Cambridge United striker Chris Holroyd just before the transfer deadline.

The problem for Brighton has been their home form, as they have picked up 20 of their 28 points on their travels and their away record is as good as any of the play-off chasing sides.

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But O's striker Ryan Jarvis, who sparked the recovery at Carlisle United on Saturday, believes Orient can contain the Seagulls.

The O's forward insists that the club's recent rise up the table has given their confidence a huge lift.

"It's a boost to get yourself out of the relegation zone," said the striker, after the O's had come from 2-0 down at half time to earn a point at Carlisle United on Saturday.

"It gives you confidence - you take that out on the pitch and you feel that you can start winning games."

Confidence is not only key to the club's fortunes, but it's also important to Jarvis himself.

The striker failed to score a league goal last season and hit the net just twice in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

However, Jarvis broke his duck against Oldham early this term and has now netted five league goals, with three of them coming in his last seven appearances.

The striker hopes his goal tally will rise to six, as he insisted he will be claiming both goals from Saturday's encounter.

The 23-year-old former Norwich trainee, fired home from close range just before the hour and then saw a header deflect into the net off Carlisle United defender Danny Livesey for the equaliser.

"The second one is definitely mine as well," claimed Jarvis.

"The header was on target, it's taken a deflection, but I'll still be claiming it."

After launching such a spirited comeback the striker was disappointed Orient did not come home with a win.

"If we hadn't had such a sloppy first half we could easily have taken the three points, but coming back from two-down shows how good the spirit is in the team," he said.

But Jarvis insists that Orient will not get carried away after picking up seven points from nine during January.

"Everyone is keeping their feet on the ground and working as hard as they can to get us up the table," he said.

Jarvis has forced his way up the pecking order this season and started in 19 of the first 27 league games, which is more than last season, as he and 10-goal Scott McGleish have become the first-choice strike pairing.

But the Fakenham-born forward knows that he will need to keep scoring to maintain his place.

Summer signing James Scowcroft is fit again and returned to the side on Saturday, while new French striker Jonathan T�hou� has been making an impact from the bench.

After Saturday's clash with the Seagulls, the O's complete a hat-trick of home games when they are due to entertain title favourites Leeds United on Saturday, February 13.

However, the game will be postponed if Leeds beat Tottenham tonight (Wednesday) in an FA Cup fourth round replay, as the fifth round is scheduled to take place that weekend.

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