Kevin Lisbie has played in the top flight of English football during a career spanning almost 20 years but the striker insists winning promotion with Orient would be his biggest achievement in the game.
The 35-year-old was part of the Charlton Athletic squad which went up to the Premier League through the play-offs in 1998, when he was just starting out in football. But the forward is adamant helping the O’s reach the Championship would be the highlight of his footballing life.
Lisbie said: “I was promoted with Charlton but I was 16 or 17 and just in the squad. It was one of the best days of my footballing career but this would be it for me if we got promoted. We’re such a small squad and club that this would be the biggest achievement.”
The O’s linchpin has never competed in the play-offs before but Lisbie believes his extensive experience should help him handle the pressure of the occasion.
He said: “I haven’t got any experience of the play-offs but I’m 35 years old so I’ve got the experience of playing in higher divisions. It will be like a Premier League game, I would have thought, with the whole world watching us. It’s up to us to perform on the day. We’ve got a lot of young people involved but it’s 11 v 11 and we’re going to give it our best and see what happens.”
Lisbie added: “I can’t wait for it. I wish we could play tomorrow. It will be a good experience. We’ve got a few young boys in the team and we’ll just go in there, hopefully enjoy ourselves and see what happens.”
The O’s claimed a record 12 away league wins this season and were only beaten three times. Orient will need to maintain this enviable form on the road this Saturday when they travel to Peterborough United for the first leg of the semi-final. Although the East Londoners won 3-1 at London Road during the season, Lisbie insists coming away level would be a positive result this weekend.
The Jamaican striker said: “I think they’re a better team than when we played them at their place. I think they’ve got good form now with some decent results. The last few weeks they’ve been really good and they’ve won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. They’re an organised side and have a good manager who knows what he’s doing, so it will be a very tough game.
“Anyone you asked would be lying if they said they didn’t want to take it back to their own ground with a good result. We’ve got a decent away record and if we can go there, nick a draw and take them back to ours it would be good for us.”
Lisbie’s brace at MK Dons took his tally to 18 goals for the season which is the best return of his career. He has netted four goals in his last three appearances and believes the club’s front line are approaching peak form. It was a welcome return to the scoresheet for the striker after getting just two goals between November and the middle of April.
“It’s massive,” Lisbie said. “As long as I’m scoring and we’re winning it’s great and I’d like to hit the twenties as well because I feel like I should have this season. I went on a bit of a bad run but hopefully me, David Mooney, Dean Cox and Moses Odubajo are coming into form as a front four at the right time.
“I’m absolutely over the moon, I’m not going to lie to you and couldn’t be happier. I will enjoy this because football’s a funny game and when you stop scoring you get a bit down on yourself so when you’re scoring I think you have to enjoy it. We’ve got a mini-league coming now and what’s happened before means nothing.”