Dean Cox believes the players have used the disappointment of missing out on Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as motivation to inspire their strong end to the season.
The O’s suffered the crushing blow of their area final defeat to Southend United last month but have responded admirably with a six-match unbeaten league run sparking hopes of sneaking a late play-off spot.
Their current form is the best of any side in the division, over the last six games, and Cox thinks their cup setback has played a major part in pushing them on in League One.
Cox said: “I think that [Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit] spurred us on to be honest. We’re using that disappointment to try and sort out our league form and the last four or five games we’ve been playing very well.
“There isn't a secret to it and we’re just going to go for it and see what happens. We go onto the next game and hopefully we can get a positive result.”
The former Brighton & Hove Albion winger impressed during Saturday’s 4-1 win over Carlisle United when he netted his seventh of the season. Cox admitted it felt a long time since scoring his last goal at Stevenage in February.
The 28-year-old said: “It’s been a while to be fair since I scored. When that went in, they were dead and buried, and it was a very nice feeling so Coxy’s happy and the fans went home happy.
“It was a tremendous performance from the boys and long may it continue. It’s all about the team. It was a great performance and we move onto the next game where hopefully we can keep the run going.”
Some of the O’s recent signings played a significant role in their latest win, with Romain Vincelot getting off the mark for the club and Shaun Batt netting for the second game in a row.
Cox has been impressed with the contribution of the new arrivals and thinks they have been influential in helping Orient climb the table.
Cox, who joined the O’s from the Seagulls three years, said: “It is a good squad and I would say it’s very close to the first year when I was here.
“We’ve got some very good players and the gaffer’s brought in some very good loanees that have really helped the group.
“They’re not just here to fill the numbers. They’re here making an impact and you can see it on the pitch. Shaun’s got his goals, Charlie MacDonald is getting goals and came on and got the penalty which killed off the game. Everyone’s contributing and playing well so hopefully we can keep it going.”
Orient have quietly crept into the top ten of the division and are only three points off the top six but Cox insists no one is looking at the table and they are not putting any pressure on themselves to reach the play-offs.
The talented midfielder said: “We don’t look at the table. We just go on to the next game. We wanted to win the match and we’ve done that.
“Obviously it’s nice not to have any midweek game and it will help the squad out with the boys that have got a few knocks and niggles.
“Our four strikers are all on fire at the moment so it’s all the better for the gaffer to pick from.
“It’s great to have everyone on form and looking confident and it all bodes well so let’s hope we can keep it going.
“It’s been a long season but we’re enjoying it and we’ve put ourselves in a good position so who knows what’s in store?”
Much has been made of the state of the Brisbane Road pitch in recent months, with the poor weather adversely affecting the playing surface. Cox thinks the rain at the weekend helped their cause though, and believes the team still managed to play some decent football.
He said: “It’s not exactly the most glamorous playing surface but considering that, I thought we passed the ball quite well.
“I think the rain may have helped slicken it up a bit because when it’s dry it’s quite difficult and you need two or three touches to get under the ball.
“It’s the same for both sides and I wouldn’t say it affected us out there. I thought that was a very good League One performance and a great win.”
The O’s next match is at Preston North End this weekend who are also in impressive form with just one defeat since Simon Grayson took charge at Deepdale.
Cox said: “Simon Grayson has gone in there and will have them organised. He’s gone there to make a point and he wants to start his Preston career flying so it will be very tough. But we’re full of confidence so we’re going to go up there and give it a go.”