The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Michael Hincks

MID­FIELDER Marvin Bart­ley has urged the Ley­ton Ori­ent “bot­tlers” to man up for the fight to keep the club in League One.

Af­ter los­ing out in the play-off fi­nal to Rother­ham on penal­ties last term, most pun­dits would have ex­pected the O’s to chal­lenge for pro­mo­tion once again this cam­paign.

But with new owner Francesco Bec­chetti tak­ing over and a string of man­agers hold­ing the reins, the east Lon­don club have had no sta­bil­ity – and a stinker of a sea­son on the pitch has left them bat­tling to stay in the third tier.

Two wins from three be­fore the week­end has Bart­ley be­liev­ing his team are turn­ing the cor­ner. Victory at Ch­ester­field on Valen­tine’s Day was Ori­ent’s first since the turn of the year and they fol­lowed it up with a 3-0 home win against Old­ham last week­end.


The fact re­mains, how­ever, that they have had more man­agers than home league wins this sea­son (4-3) – and are still in big trou­ble. Head­ing into the week­end, they lay sec­ond bot­tom, but only two points from safety.

That’s why for­mer Burn­ley and Bournemouth man Bart­ley be­lieves they need to step up their ef­forts to avoid the drop.

“I don’t think we’ve been as phys­i­cal as we pos­si­bly could have and we need to man up,” he ad­mit­ted. “It’s time to stand up and be counted be­cause if we don’t then we’re go­ing to be in trou­ble. Too many of us bot­tle tack­les and I don’t think we are phys­i­cal enough.

“We can’t feel sorry for our­selves, we just have to get on with it. We haven’t won enough games at home – it’s as sim­ple as that.”

There have been mur­murs that dis­con­tent is rife among Ital­ian boss Fabio Liverani’s troops.

In­deed, Bart­ley cel­e­brated the 3-2 win at Ch­ester­field with a tweet cit­ing a ‘mole in the camp’, yet he in­sists re­la­tion­ships within the squad are af­fa­ble and there is unity in their battle against rel­e­ga­tion.

“There is no di­vi­sion in the squad at all,” in­sisted the 28year-old. “Every­body gets on with ev­ery­one else.

“We’ve got a new manager in and he’s try­ing to imprint his own style on us and we have to take it on board, so hope­fully re­sults will change for us.

“It’s not down to the manager or the coaches, though. It’s down to the play­ers, to our­selves in­di­vid­u­ally – we’ve got to put our bod­ies on the line.”

Home set­backs are re­sult­ing in fall­ing at­ten­dances – 1,200 more peo­ple saw the open­ing day de­feat to Ch­ester­field than last week’s thrash­ing of Old­ham – with the Ori­ent faith­ful find­ing lit­tle to shout about.

Con­fi­dence is con­ta­gious, ac­cord­ing to Bart­ley, and if the O’s can re­main pos­i­tive in the stands, then it will trans­late to the play­ers find­ing their voices on the pitch, as they bid to climb clear of the bot­tom four.


“The sup­port­ers have to be­lieve be­cause we cer­tainly do,” he added. “If we or they stop do­ing that, then it makes the job much harder for us. We have to show them some­thing on the pitch to be­lieve in.

“You look at the team and the squad we have – we should be at the other end of the ta­ble, and we’re afraid of no­body.”

So, if there is no fear fac­tor within the squad and no divide, then what does need to change?

“To a cer­tain point, luck,” added Bart­ley. “We have missed cer­tain chances at our end that fall to their goal­keeper and, in con­trast, if it comes out to an op­po­si­tion player they slot it home from a cou­ple of yards.

“We’ve got to take each game as it comes and start pick­ing up the re­sults.

“Some peo­ple say you make your own luck in foot­ball and we have to do that now.

“Hope­fully it is go­ing to come right for us – it has to.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

UP FOR THE FIGHT: O’s mid­fielder Marvin Bart­ley

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.