DON’T WRITE O’S OFF

Dean Cox has a warn­ing for Ley­ton Ori­ent’s play-off ri­vals

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Sean Kearns

DEAN COX says no-one wants to face Ley­ton Ori­ent in the play-offs – de­spite the O’s be­ing snubbed in the PFA League One team of the year.

Ori­ent have spent most of the cam­paign in the top six, break­ing a club record for most points gained in a sea­son in the process, but didn’t have a sin­gle player voted into the end-of-sea­son XI.

Cham­pi­ons Wolves can boast five play­ers – Carl Ikeme, Danny Batth, Sam Rick­etts, Kevin McDon­ald and Bakary Sako – while al­ready-pro­moted Brent­ford have two in Jake Bidwell and Adam Forshaw.

Ori­ent’s play-off ri­vals Peter­bor­ough and Rother­ham also have one each in Britt As­som­ba­longa and Ben Pringle re­spec­tively.

But Ori­ent winger Cox, who could ar­gue his own case for in­clu­sion af­ter notch­ing 15 goals be­fore the weekend, claims his side are the ones to beat.

“I think any­one that has watched us this sea­son, and in the game against Wolves on Easter Mon­day, will know that they’ll be in for a hell of a game if they were to draw us, and no­body in the top six will want to play us,” he said.“If we play as we know we can we’ll be ab­so­lutely fine.We’ve played the best team in League One (Wolves) and we played them off the park de­spite los­ing (3-1).

“They’ll go into the Cham­pi­onship and they’ll stay there. They’re the best team in the league but we pushed them all the way and they’re not all go­ing to be as good as Wolves so we can’t wait for the play-offs.”

Im­pressed

Last Satur­day’s 2-0 win over Tran­mere moved the O’s onto 83 points – a best-ever tally for the club. Vet­eran Kevin Lis­bie, 35, has rolled back the years with his strike against Rovers his 14th in League One.

Strike part­ner David Mooney has also im­pressed while winger Moses Odubajo’s de­vel­op­ment saw the 20-year-old pick up the club’s young player of the year for the sec­ond sea­son in a row.

The omis­sion of Nathan Clarke and El­liot Omozusi from the PFA side is per­haps the most sur­pris­ing, with both ex­celling at the back.

Cox is un­de­terred, though.Writ­ten off by most at the start of the sea­son, the Ori­ent ex­press is show­ing no signs of slow­ing de­spite yes­ter­day’s clash against MK Dons be­ing their 54th of a gru­elling cam­paign in all com­pe­ti­tions.

“The fans know we’ve given our all this sea­son,” added the for­mer Brighton mid­fielder.

“There’s never any guar­an­tee be­cause who knows what can hap­pen over two legs and then hope­fully in a one-off game.

“But we know if we play like we can then we’re go­ing to give our­selves one hell of a chance. We know we need to play the ball the way we can and re­main pa­tient.

“We need to play the way we have all sea­son, re­main fo­cussed and then it’s the two big games in the play-offs, which we’re all ea­gerly await­ing.”

The 26-year-old is hop­ing a break at Champneys health spa be­fore Easter is the cat­a­lyst for Cham­pagne come the end of May.

“The trip to Champneys was great, and credit to the chair­man (Barry Hearn) for pay­ing for us to go, it’s def­i­nitely helped,” con­tin­ued Cox.“It’s been a long sea­son, a lot of us have played 40-plus games, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

SHOOT­ING FROM THE HIP: Dean Cox smashes in a goal against Gilling­ham

SNUBBED: David Mooney and Nathan Clarke who were left out of the League One team

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