Orient boss Russell Slade claims club have Churchillian spirit and can win their promotion battle (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Russell Slade claims Leyton Orient have Churchillian spirit and can overcome odds in promotion battle
Russell Slade says there are similarities between Leyton Orient and former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill after revealing the O’s are planning for life in the Championship.
The O’s have exceeded all expectations this season to reach the League 1 play-offs but despite booking their top-six place at the end of March, Slade’s side will be far from favourites when the semi-final tussles begin on May 10.
Speaking after Orient’s 2-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, Slade admitted he was planning in his ‘bunker’ for life in the Championship next season, should the O’s progress through the play-offs and win promotion to the second tier for the first time since the 1981/82 season.
“Of course we are [planning for the Championship]. That’s the only thing in my mind is planning for that,” said Slade.
“We’ve even got a little poster up of Churchill – ‘We do it together’ – it’s like the little war room; it’s where I plan, it’s where I plot, it’s where I spend most of my life at the minute.”
Asked if there were similarities between the unfancied O’s and Britain's wartime Prime Minister, Slade said: “Yes, of course, because like Leyton Orient, Winston was up against it, so you take a lot from that in adversity and when you’re up against the odds and we will be, but we’ll overcome.”
One area where Orient were up against it on Saturday was at the back, where injuries to Mathieu Baudry and Elliot Omozusi forced Slade into a defensive reshuffle. Winger Moses Odubajo dropped in at right-back and Gary Sawyer started on the opposite side once again.
Odubajo’s move also saw Shaun Batt brought into the side for his first start since the defeat at Gillingham on Boxing Day.
“Needs must and Mo [Odubajo], probably not his preferred position, but he’s ended up with man of the match, so he’ll be delighted with that from right-back,” said Slade.
“Batts was only probably going to play 60 or 70 minutes – that was premeditated – and the same with Kevin Lisbie so those were two subs we were always going to make if things went according to plan,” explained the manager.
Victory over Rovers saw another club record topple, after the club had previously set new best sequences for the longest unbeaten league run and scoring in consecutive away games.
“It’s another record – 83 points – that’s the most points a Leyton Orient side has ever taken in any season so that’s a tremendous, monumental effort by the players and again, another professional performance,” noted Slade.
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