Orient are still under pressure warns Tam
DESPITE losing just one of their last eight games, Orient entertain Swindon Town on Saturday still looking for points to ease their relegation worries, writes TREVOR DAVIES. Central defender Tamika Mkandawire popped up with a second-half leveller at Gilli
DESPITE losing just one of their last eight games, Orient entertain Swindon Town on Saturday still looking for points to ease their relegation worries, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
Central defender Tamika Mkandawire popped up with a second-half leveller at Gillingham on Tuesday night as O's claimed a precious point.
Geraint Williams' side are 15th in the table, but still just five points off the drop zone with 14 games to go.
"There is still pressure on us to pull away from the relegation area and we need to keep grinding out results to ease our position," Mkandawire warned.
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"We have got ourselves into this situation and we have got to get ourselves out of it by working hard and applying ourselves on the training pitch and on a match day."
Although the O's have lost just once in 2010, four of their last six games have ended in draws and they have not been able to end their relegation fears.
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But Mkandawire insists the side should not have to look over their shoulders given the ability in the squad.
"When you look around our dressing room there is real quality in there, but we don't always play up to our potential," he said.
In their last home game against Leeds, the O's looked on course for victory, until a Charlie Daniels own goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time levelled things up.
"When you see the way we played against Leeds in the second half, we have shown we can compete against sides at the top of the table," said Mkandawire.
"But sometimes we struggle when we play teams at the opposite end."
However, Swindon are likely to give Mkandawire and co a tough test on Saturday.
The Robins have won eight and drawn four of their last 12 league games and have not lost a League One fixture since December 12, when they were beaten 3-0 at Bristol Rovers.
Mkandawire and his defensive partner Ben Chorley are likely to be tested by Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin, who have been in deadly form this season.
Paynter has already blasted 19 league goals, while Austin has 13, making them one of the most feared partnerships in the division.
While Mkandawire's main aim will be to stop the strike duo at the weekend, his goals have also been an important feature in Orient's recent revival.
The defender is now the club's second leading scorer with seven to his credit.
"It's always nice to get a goal, but it doesn't matter who scores as long as we're picking up points," said Mkandawire.
"In truth, I'd rather keep a clean sheet and let someone else score."
The defender felt a draw was just about the right result at Gillingham on Tuesday and added: "It was a hard-earned point, but I thought we deserved it. "We played well in the second half and it was a fair result."
But, just like at Tranmere on Saturday, O's were slow out of the blocks and trailed at the interval.
"Its the second time in a very days where we played better in the second half than we had done in the first and it's something we have got to put right," insisted the defender.
"I can't really put my finger on why this has happened in the last couple of games and I think we need to get back to basics, hard work and do what we were doing when we went on the unbeaten run.