Oldham boss Lee Johnson insists Russell Slade deserves the manager of the year award in League 1 this season.
Johnson’s side dealt a major blow to Orient’s chances of winning automatic promotion after snatching a late equaliser on Tuesday night. But the visiting manager is in no doubt about the job Slade is doing and believes he has excelled considering the size of the club and their budget.
Johnson said: “I would certainly be voting for him as manager of the year given the budget, exceeding expectations and punching above their weight.”
The Oldham boss believes it will be difficult for the O’s to finish in the top two although he thinks Orient deserve credit for their achievement in virtually sealing a top-six finish with seven games to spare.
“I think Brentford lost today so never say never but I think it will be tough,” Johnson said. “But I think it’s a magnificent achievement from them to have nigh on secured the play-offs already.
“Russell Slade has done a superb job with a group that hasn’t changed an awful lot from last year. He’s a good manager and I’m a young manager but people like that I can always look up to and learn from.”
Orient are struggling to rediscover the fluency of the first half of the season and Tuesday’s draw means it is just one win in five games.
When asked if it was a decent time to play Orient, Johnson replied: “I think you could say that. The boy Romain Vincelot is out who’s a very good player and maybe they’re on a bit of a downer but I still think they’re a good side. It was only Vincelot that was out. We had to come here and I felt we had them on the ropes for long periods of the game.”
It was the second 1-1 draw between the sides this season and Johnson felt it was the least his team deserved despite waiting until the 90th minute to level the game.
Johnson said: “It was hard earned. Listen, when you come to places like Orient that have got a team flying high it’s always going to be tough. But to be honest I was proud of my team and the fans.
“I thought we came here and certainly tried to win the game. We were strong on the break in the first half and they scored against the run of play a little bit.
“We could have had a couple of goals in the first half and then a couple of really good chances in the second period. We deservedly came away with a minimum of a point.
He added: “You’re always worried about not getting the reward because it’s happened to us all too much this year. I’m delighted for the lads.
“We’ve had a lot of away games this year where teams have said that’s one of the best sides they’ve played at home and yet we’ve come away empty handed.
“I’m just pleased because it’s an important point in our scrap to stay up and I was just proud of the club again and the way my boys played.”