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O’s want to keep feel-good factor in the league, says Clay

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 October 2018

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay battles with Hartlepool United rival Nicky Featherstone (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay battles with Hartlepool United rival Nicky Featherstone (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Justin Edinburgh’s team are third heading into a busy week where they will play Havant & Waterlooville, Eastleigh and AFC Fylde

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay is well aware the team could have done even better in the opening months of the National League season, but is hopeful they can now kick on and keep the feel-good factor around the club.

The O’s are third after 16 games with 33 points following nine wins, six draws and one defeat during the 2018/19 campaign.

Leaders Salford are only a single point better off, and so are second-placed Wrexham, but impressively Orient have a better goal difference than both of them, which may be crucial come the latter part of the term.

Clay, who has started all 16 league games for the E10 club, said: “We have set our standards at the start of this season.

“I think we could have done even better in certain parts, but we have set the bar high and had a great start in the league.

“I am sure we will be working on stuff and trying to make ourselves better, but we have started well and want to keep this feel-good factor.”

Orient’s last league game saw 6,877 supporters inside the Breyer Group Stadium with over six thousand home fans.

It helped create a fantastic atmosphere for the clash with Hartlepool United in E10, which ended goalless.

Yet considering O’s had to play over half an hour with 10-men after Joe Widdowson saw red, it was a positive result.

Last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Maidstone United in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup was less impressive.

Clay was one of many to drop to the bench for the tie, a deserved rest after 16 starts in a row, and while the likes of Alex Lawless, Dale Gorman and Charlie Lee caught the eye in the first half, they struggled after the break.

It resulted in the Stones going through to the first round proper after goals from Blair Turgott and Elliott Romain in Kent.

While at least two of Lawless, Gorman and Lee will miss out on the starting XI for the visit of Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday, Clay insists the competition in the middle of the park is spurring him on to continue performing his best for O’s.

He added: “The people we have got sitting on the sidelines keep you at it. We know we can’t have a games rest because ‘Laws’ in training is unbelievable and Gorman is the same.

“They are ready to step straight in if needed, so the squad depth is unbelievable and it is keeping us all on our toes.”

Orient will visit Eastleigh on Tuesday and given the quick turnaround, Edinburgh may use his squad again and he will hope they can impress more than they did in the second half at Maidstone.

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