Saints alive will be a huge test for O’s
ORIENT face in-form Southampton on Saturday and there could be almost as many visiting supporters at Brisbane Road as home fans! – writes TREVOR DAVIES. Southampton have already sold out their entire allocation of tickets and will pack-out the East Stand,
ORIENT face in-form Southampton on Saturday and there could be almost as many visiting supporters at Brisbane Road as home fans! - writes TREVOR DAVIES.
Southampton have already sold out their entire allocation of tickets and will pack-out the East Stand, as Alan Pardew's side look to record their sixth straight success in October.
Orient chief executive Matt Porter said: "Southampton have sold their allocation. Because of restrictions we can't sell out the whole stand. But they have taken 3,100 tickets."
Orient's biggest home gate so far was 7,376 for the derby duel against Charlton Athletic back in August.
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But Porter believes Saturday's attendance will fall short of that figure.
"We would expect a crowd of just below 7,000," he admitted.
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However, although attendances have gone up this season, the club's chief executive acknowledged: "We have played Charlton, Millwall and Brentford already, so it's not really comparing like-for-like."
Although Orient's home record has improved, having lost just once in their last five league encounters at Brisbane Road, Geraint Williams' side still find themselves just two points off the drop zone and they desperately need to take something from Saturday's game to avoid slipping back into trouble.
In-form Saints, who started the season with a 10-point deduction, know that a win on Saturday could lift them out of the relegation zone for the first time this term.
Meanwhile, Williams will be desperate to stem the flow of goals, as Orient have conceded 26 times, which is the second worst defensive record in the division.
The O's have kept just two clean sheets in 14 league games and worryingly for the O's boss, when the floodgates open, they seem to stay open.
O's crashed 3-0 at Southend, with all the goals coming in the last half-hour.
While in the 4-0 defeat at Norwich, they conceded four times in the final 15 minutes.
On Saturday at Huddersfield, the O's were on terms until the second minute of stoppage time in the first half, but ended up leaking another four.
While Williams will be working hard to tighten things up, at least he will have some genuine selection headaches ahead of Saturday's test.
Adam Chambers played for the full 90 minutes of Monday's 2-0 reserve team win against Brentford and is set for a return.
The combative midfielder has made just two starts in the league this season after suffering a calf injury last term and has been sorely missed.
Sean Thornton, who suffered a cartilage injury against Charlton back in August, also returned in Monday's reserve team game and scored during the first half.
However, it's likely he will need another reserve team run-out, as he played for just the first 45 minutes against the Bees.
Skipper Stephen Purches is likely to be back, after illness ruled him out of Saturday's game at Huddersfield and meant that the O's could not field their full complement of substitutes.
Charlie Daniels should also be available after he played for just a hour because of illness last weekend.
"It's all positive news with Adam Chambers and Sean Thornton." said Williams yesterday (Wednesday).
"Adam has had three reserve team games and Sean got 45 minutes under his belt on Monday.
"Charlie Daniels has eased back into training this week and so has Jamie Jones, although we will be bringing him back slowly."
However, Williams was disappointed with his side's second-half collapse on Saturday and said: "What disappointed me was that for the last 20 minutes we went a little gung-ho. We have to be organised.
"When we are, we are a tough side to break down, but when we go away from that and do little things by ourselves we don't look the same side.