The Emirates FA Cup gets underway this weekend, with the O’s making the trip to League One promotion hopefuls Sheffield United. The Blades are unbeaten in their last 11 league matches, with eight wins, 24 goals scored and just 11 conceded.
By contrast, we slipped into the League Two relegation zone after a lacklustre performance in a 2-0 defeat at home to Crewe. In truth, the final scoreline could have been worse, as Tom Parkes cleared Alex Kiwomya’s shot off the line and Alex Cisak made a great save in added time.
After struggling to defend corners in the early part of the season, we found a solution to this against Crewe by not giving any away. Unfortunately, we keep found new ways to concede instead, so don’t expect a goalless draw this weekend.
Whilst it is hard to build much of a case for an Orient victory on Sunday, we must hope that the players are invigorated by the famous competition. A repeat of our run to the semi-finals in 1978 is unlikely, but a cup run of sorts would be a boost to the fans and the club finances, especially given our perilous current league position. The O’s are priced at 6.90 on EnergyBet to claim a shock away victory.
Our chances of securing an upset will be increased if Sheffield United choose to prioritise their promotion quest. Manager Chris Wilder bemoaned a growing injury list after their last game against MK Dons, and could give a few players time off before their next league outing at Chesterfield. Wilder has confirmed that strikers Matt Done and Leon Clarke will not be in contention for the match at Bramall Lane.
However, they will have a League One Player of the Month nominee for October available to lead the line. Billy Sharp has recorded a goal for every 128 minutes of league action this season. If we are going to challenge a ‘Sharp’ set of Blades, the goals are more likely to come in the second half, with our last six league goals coming after the break.
EnergyBet Match Odds:
Sheffield United 1.34 | Draw 4.15 | Leyton Orient 6.90