Mathieu Baudry believes the O’s have shown the grit and determination required to be successful in their promotion challenge this season.
Orient were never at their free-flowing best at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday but displayed the hallmark of champions after battling back from behind and then defending manfully to grind out a priceless victory. It was a similar story to the win at Gillingham over Christmas when they struggled to find their rhythm but still managed to claim all three points.
Frenchman Baudry thinks the character and endeavour will go a long way to keeping them in the reckoning for automatic promotion until the end.
He said: “I think that’s what Gary Neville and the pundits say about the teams at the top getting results even when they don’t play well. I think that’s what we did today. Even when we’re not at our best we always give 100 per cent so we can always get something from the game.
“We can graft. I haven’t seen a lot of teams that have strikers who can come back at the end and defend corners like ours have done. We saw all our attackers running back to defend and that’s why we will stay at the top.”
The former Bournemouth defender added: “The longer we are at the top the more the ambitions go up. But we focus on game after game, keep our spirit, respect every team and then we’ll see where it brings us.”
Russell Slade’s side have been boosted by the arrival of Hull City keeper Eldin Jakupovic following Jamie Jones’ back injury. The Bosnian kept two cleans sheets before producing an impressive performance at Crewe. Baudry has enjoyed working in front of him and believes he has already proved an excellent signing.
Baudry said: “We had a bit of a laugh with him because we said we didn’t really need a goalkeeper in the last two games because he didn’t make a save. He showed that he’s a great signing and made some excellent saves to keep us in the game, especially in the first half.”
The O’s were really stretched a few weeks ago with a small squad which was decimated by injuries. But Slade’s brisk activity in the transfer market has given them much-needed strength in the team and on the bench which Baudry thinks bodes well for the run-in.
The 25-year-old said: “I think we saw that a small team are getting bigger with more depth. Jamie Ness came on and scored in the last game and has been brilliant. Chris Dagnall and Eldin have done really well and we’ve got the two youngsters who didn't come on and Yohann (Lasimant) as well so we know they can bring something as well. It’s great for the manager because he’s got more players and more quality.
“I think we needed more depth and the manager told us he was going to bring some players in. Matt Porter (chief executive) and the chairman worked really hard and said they were going to try and bring some people in to help us. We trusted them to bring in the right people and we’ve seen that with the contributions they’ve made, so it’s really encouraging for the rest of the season.”
The O’s suffered their first league defeat of the season at Coventry City back in October. This was their third meeting of the season after Orient edged past them in both the Capital One Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Baudry admits the team failed to show up in the league loss and knows the East Londoners will have to be on their game against a side that are 11th despite a ten-point deduction for financial problems.
The centre-back said: “I think the game we lost at Coventry is one of the only games where we didn’t turn up. Our work wasn’t our usual standard but we know they’re a good team with brilliant players so we’ll have to be at our best to get something from the game.”