DON’T WRITE O’S OFF
Dean Cox has a warning for Leyton Orient’s play-off rivals
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.”
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