Orient captain Nathan Clarke targets ever present league record (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton Orient captain Nathan Clarke targets Tranmere and MK Dons games to complete every league match
Orient captain Nathan Clarke has set his sights on playing every single league game this season for the promotion contenders.
The centre-back and winger Moses Odubajo are the only players in the O’s squad to have started all 44 matches in League 1 during this campaign. Appearances against Tranmere Rovers this weekend and at MK Dons on the final day next month will complete a rare feat for the pair.
Clarke said: “Hopefully the manager wants to stay with a strong side and not rest too many.
“I want to play as many as I can to hopefully get to 46 league games which would be a real good effort from myself and credit to our head of sports science Lee Southernwood for keeping me fit and ready.”
Clarke was speaking after Orient’s 2-1 defeat at Crawley Town on Friday which ended any lingering hopes of winning automatic promotion.
The loss, coupled with Brentford’s victory against Preston North End, ensured the Bees were promoted in second spot but the O’s skipper refused to be downhearted by the result.
He said: “It’s such a fantastic achievement to be in the play-offs. I was with Huddersfield a long time and we got into the play-offs a couple of times and it’s a massive thing.
“We’ve got to go in there positive. Obviously it was a disappointing result here but we move on and look forward to the two big games we’ve got in the play-offs.
“Brentford have gone on a fantastic run and both teams that won automatic promotion deserve it because we’ve had a really good season.
“You look at last year where the two teams that went up had 84 and 83 points so we would have been in with a good shout. The teams in this league have been very competitive reaching 90-odd points so you’ve got to look at that as a bit of a benchmark where they’ve got away at the end there.”
Orient were in third place on Friday but results have since seen them drop down to fifth despite having 80 points. Clarke believes securing a home second leg, by finishing in the top four, would be an advantage for the O’s.
The defender said: “That’s something that you’ve got to start looking at the table now and try to work out what the best scenario is.
“You want to possibly be at home last but either way you just have to embrace the play-offs. It’s a special thing and over two games anything can happen.”
The O’s miserable record against Crawley continued as John Gregory’s side made it four wins out of four against them.
Gwion Edwards fired the hosts into the lead but Orient quickly levelled when Mathieu Baudry’s header was turned in from close range by Chris Dagnall.
Crawley improved in the second half and were rewarded with the winner in the 70th minute when Andy Drury headed past Jamie Jones.
Clarke said: “It is disappointing but we’ve got to take the positives out of it. We moved the ball reasonably well on a difficult pitch. We possibly didn’t deserve to lose but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“We’ve got to tighten up a little bit at the back. To concede two goals on our behalf is disappointing and we’ve got to look at that.”
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