Former Leyton Orient striker Scott McGleish has backed the O’s to win promotion to the Championship this season.
The 40-year-old was an interested onlooker at Brisbane Road on Saturday as two of his former clubs faced each other and McGleish thinks Orient have what it takes to finish in the top two.
The Wealdstone forward said: “I don’t see why they can’t get automatic promotion. It’s the first time I’ve seen them this year. They’re working hard for each other and they look a right, good honest bunch of players who are willing to go the extra mile for each other.
“There are no individuals, it’s all about a team collective and that’s going to stand them in good stead.
“They had a good result with the win and with Brentford drawing, it puts them in a very good position.
“I spoke to a few fans at half-time and they’re all saying everyone keeps claiming they will fall away and it’s only Orient. Why? Not to disrespect other teams but Southend went from League 2 to League 1 and the Championship. They’re no smaller or bigger than them so why can’t Orient do it?
“There have been other clubs that have gone into the Premiership with a comparable status to Orient going from League 1 to the Championship. Why not? That’s what football is about. It’s about playing consistently well over a 46-game period and at the moment they’ve done that over 34 matches.”
McGleish worked under Russell Slade during his most recent spell with the O’s in 2011. He believes the manager has been rewarded this year for sticking to his beliefs.
He said: “When I was here Russell was the manager and he’s very thorough in what he does. He’s got a way he likes the boys to play. He likes them to battle for each other but wants them to play football as well.
“Over the years that’s sometimes been detrimental to the team because at the beginning of the season in recent years they’ve not started very well. But he stuck to his beliefs, got through it and this year I think he’s getting the reward of all of the past three or four seasons. They started really well this year and have managed to continue it.”
McGleish was impressed with Colchester’s performance on Saturday but felt Orient’s self-belief was crucial in enabling them to snatch a late winner against the U’s.
The striker, who had three spells with the club, said: “Orient will probably feel they deserved to get three points because of the way they played in the first half and Colchester were not at their best. But in the second half they’ve got the keeper to thank and from there they could have easily crumbled and lost 2-1.
“But they’ve got that resilience about them this year and they believe they should be up there. They believe they should be promotion candidates and three minutes after the equaliser, they broke and it’s a clinical finish from Moses (Odubajo).”
David Mooney scored a spectacular volley which fired the O’s in front and McGleish insists the Irish striker is living up to his potential after a quiet start at Orient.
McGleish said: “I played against David when he was at Colchester and he was always a technically good player. He was a good finisher and came to Orient where he had a little bit of a slow start. But it’s like anything, you’ve got to adapt to the way other teams play.
“He came in last year and this season he has been phenomenal. Him and Kevin Lisbie look a really good partnership. They work well together and have a lot of goals between them again.”