There's hope yet for O's
PUBLISHED: 14:30 29 April 2015
Simon O'Connor Photography
Could Swindon play a weakened team and what are the chances of Notts County, Crawley and Colchester winning?
Leyton Orient must defeat Swindon Town this weekend and hope other results go their way to avoid relegation to League Two, but it seems they may face a weakened Robins team at the County Ground.
Town manager Mark Cooper surprised most of his own supporters, and other sides in the division, last weekend by resting several of his first team players at Preston.
He made seven changes at Deepdale and it resulted in a 3-0 loss which prompted MK Dons manager Karl Robinson, who was hoping Swindon would beat Preston to aid his teams automatic promotion charge, to suggest “if it was in a cup there would be something done about it.”
Cooper responded by insisting he needed to think about his club and it was part of a plan to get his players ready for their play-off semi-final on Thursday May 7.
“I said it was about us and how we are going to prepare,” Cooper told the local media after the game.
“It is entirely about our preparation for the play-offs and making sure that the team that plays in the first play-off leg is ready, free of injury and fresh mentally and physically.
“It might not work. But we have put a plan in place that we think gives us a possibility, a realistic possibility, of doing well in play-offs.
“If I’d have brought the players that weren’t here and three of them got injuries and couldn’t play in the play-offs would I have got ridiculed for playing them instead of resting them?
“If they were fully fit (having) played a lot of football and pulled a hamstring I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
“We can’t get any higher and we can’t get any lower. All I’m doing is giving those players the maximum time to be fresh for the play-offs.
“I’m not doing anything scientific or mind blowing, as a club we’ve decided the best way to do it is to make sure we’re right for May 7.”
His decision to rest first team players wasn’t well received by Swindon supporters and prior to yesterday’s clash with Colchester United, a relegation rival for Orient, he revealed his “play-off team” would play a part in one of their two remaining matches.
It seems the play-off team was picked for last night’s 1-1 draw with Colchester United, which moved them above O’s and dropped the Brisbane Road club to second bottom in the table.
Cooper spoke to the local media before facing the U’s, and said: “There will be first-team players playing (at Colchester).
“The play-off team will have to play a part of one of the games and that team will be going all out to get a performance and a result.
“Whatever other team I pick will be full of players who can get a result.”
Cooper made nine changes following the 3-0 loss to Preston, which suggests he could pick a weakened team again this weekend against Orient.
That would give Fabio Liverani’s team a welcome boost and the Robins record against the bottom four also makes positive reading for O’s fans.
Swindon lost at home to Yeovil Town recently and earlier in 2015 were beaten 2-1 by Crawley at the County Ground.
They also drew 2-2 with Colchester at home and were held to a 1-1 draw at Yeovil in October. Robins did defeat Orient 2-1 in October, though, but there are signs that a great escape could possibly be on for Liverani’s men
A win at Swindon is all of a sudden not out of the question and Notts County, Crawley and Colchester have tough looking fixtures.
County visit Gillingham, who have an encouraging home record and Justin Edinburgh, in his first season in charge, will presumably want a strong finish.
Crawley host a Coventry side who could go down if they taste defeat so neither team will be giving an inch in that contest. Whilst Colchester entertain Preston and Simon Grayson’s team need a victory to secure automatic promotion.
It isn’t ridiculous to suggest Notts County, Crawley and Colchester could all fail to win on Sunday and that means an O’s triumph would keep them up.
There’s hope yet Orient fans!