Tam warns of the tough challenges

ORIENT go into the next few days knowing that two good results would virtually end their relegation worries, writes TREVOR DAVIES. The O s travel to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday and then go to Gillingham next Tuesday night. Both sides have 30 points and ar

ORIENT go into the next few days knowing that two good results would virtually end their relegation worries, writes TREVOR DAVIES.

The O's travel to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday and then go to Gillingham next Tuesday night. Both sides have 30 points and are currently down with the dead men of the division.

If Orient can stretch their unbeaten run to eight games and widen the gap between themselves and the strugglers, then League One survival would almost be assured.

A win and a draw would lift the O's to 40 points and leave them needing just about four victories to avoid trouble.

However, the stakes could not be higher, as a couple of poor results would send Orient spinning back into the relegation dog-fight.

Defender Tamika Mkandawire, who was outstanding as the O's took a point against title favourites Leeds United on Saturday, insists that the two trips will be even harder than last weekend's clash with the Yorkshire outfit.

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In front of a full house and an excellent atmosphere, O's came within 20 seconds of victory last Saturday.

But Prenton Park will be a completely different prospect and Mkandawire acknowledged. "It will be different to the game against Leeds, but it will be just as tough, even harder in fact.

"But we will go up there with the belief that we can get something from the game."

Mkandawire and fellow central defender Ben Chorley were immense against Leeds.

But Mkandawire knows that Chorley will be just as keen to turn in another inspired performance at the weekend.

"It's his old club and although he has already been back there once in the FA Cup this season, I know he will be looking forward to the trip and will want to do well," smiled the defender.

The importance of the back-to-back games against two of the clubs fighting for League One survival is not lost on the O's defender.

"They are going to be two tough games. We beat Gillingham here, but they are fighting for their survival in this division, as are Tranmere.

"They are all hard matches in this league, there are no easy ones," he said.

O's boss Geraint Williams will be forced to make changes to the side, as Nicky Adams has returned to Leicester following his loan spell.

Jimmy Smith, who came on as a second-half substitute against Leeds United and helped beef up the midfield looks set to start, although Williams said: "There will be several players in contention because there are a few who can play out wide on the right."

While praising Adams for his excellent contribution to Orient's impressive recent run, Williams was quick to compliment the rest of the players: "We're not a one-player team, we are all in it together," he said.

"This group of players have given us everything. It's going to be tough up at Tranmere, but every game is in this league.

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