The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Frank Smith

RO­MAIN Vincelot missed out on Cham­pi­onship foot­ball by the nar­row­est of mar­gins with Ley­ton Ori­ent.

Now the French­man is look­ing to take the pos­si­bil­ity of play-off heart­break out of the equa­tion by se­cur­ing au­to­matic pro­mo­tion with Coven­try.

Vincelot, who turns 30 on Thurs­day, was a cor­ner­stone of the O’s side that led Rother­ham 2-0 in the 2014 League One play-off fi­nal be­fore go­ing on to lose on penal­ties.


But the takeover of Ital­ian busi­ness­man Francesco Bec­chetti that sum­mer saw the Ori­ent Ex­press come to a halt, and they sub­se­quently dropped into the fourth tier.

It was agreed Vincelot could de­part the Match­room Sta­dium this sum­mer if a club matched the ask­ing price... and Coven­try duly obliged. Tony Mow­bray’s side, who have added former England in­ter­na­tional Joe Cole to their ranks, are hot on the tails of the top two and Vincelot has no doubt what this sea­son’s ob­jec­tive is. “The big idea is to get pro­moted and of course you want to get au­to­matic pro­mo­tion,” he said.

“At this stage of the sea­son you have to have it in your mind that you want to be pro­moted so you are am­bi­tious with your game and you take ev­ery point you can. “You can’t go into the sea­son think­ing ‘let’s take first, sec­ond or third place’; you just have to be am­bi­tious and you know there are six spots you can get and two of them are bet­ter than the oth­ers.

“It is all about get­ting those points in the first 30 games; you just have to take as many points as you can.

“I think we have the qual­ity to get au­to­matic pro­mo­tion. There is a lot of qual­ity in the start­ing XI and the bench, and even those not in­volved, there are a lot of good play­ers. It helps keep ev­ery­body on their toes as you need good com­pe­ti­tion.

“I think we have all the in­gre­di­ents to do it, so now it is about go­ing out there and do­ing it.”

Hav­ing come so close to the Cham­pi­onship be­fore – in­deed, he be­lieves he would have helped Ori­ent up, had Rus­sell Slade not left the club – Vincelot is more mo­ti­vated than most to get there this time around.

A medi­ocre start to the 2014-15 cam­paign saw Slade put un­der in­tense scru­tiny by the club’s new owner and he de­cided to jump ship and join Cardiff in Oc­to­ber.

In the end, the O’s were rel­e­gated to League Two un­der their fourth man­ager of the sea­son, Fabio Liverani, less than 12 months af­ter a hand­ful of spot­kicks had stood be­tween them and the Cham­pi­onship.

“It was a sea­son of frus­tra­tion,” added the mid­fielder. “It is still hard to un­der­stand be­cause we could have had a great sea­son and there was time to turn it around, but there was a lot of dis­or­gan­i­sa­tion and ev­ery­one’s minds were all over the place be­cause of that dis­or­gan­i­sa­tion in the club.


“I think un­for­tu­nately the new chair­man wanted every­thing very quickly and we had an OK start, but things were a bit tur­bu­lent off the pitch.

“It is a shame be­cause Rus­sell Slade would have turned things around. But he felt that bad pres­sure on him and I think he made the right choice by tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to go to Cardiff, who were a great club that put their trust in him. For him to leave, it was a no-brainer.

“But I have a re­ally good re­la­tion­ship with the fans at Ori­ent and hope­fully one day I will see them for a game or to speak to them again.

“They have had a good start this sea­son so hope­fully they can come back into League One.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

AGONY: Ro­main Vincelot beats the turf af­ter Ley­ton Ori­ent’s play-off de­feat against Rother­ham and, in­set, in Coven­try colours

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