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Scott Cuthbert: Orient play-off experience can prove the difference

Scott Cuthbert challenges for a header. Pic by Simon O'Connor Scott Cuthbert challenges for a header. Pic by Simon O'Connor

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
3:05 PM

Scott Cuthbert is one of a number of players in Orient’s squad with play-off experience.

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Adebayo Akinfenwa has scored 10 goals for the Gills this season. Mike Egerton/EMPICS SportAdebayo Akinfenwa has scored 10 goals for the Gills this season. Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

The Scottish defender was in the Swindon Town team which lost 1-0 to Millwall - who included Shaun Batt in their starting line-up - in the 2010 League One Wembley showpiece.

David Mooney, Mathieu Baudry, Nathan Clarke, Chris Dagnall and Romain Vincelot have all been involved in the end of season lottery before and Cuthbert thinks this experience could be crucial come the likely play-off campaign in May.

“It’s a horrible feeling to lose in a play-off final,” the 26-year-old said.

“I’ve never been in that position before but I’m sure winning is a much better feeling! That euphoria is something I really want to experience.

“There’s the possibility of a trip to Wembley which would be massive for the fans who have supported us all season. But we have to get there first.”

Brentford’s win over Crawley Town has almost ended Orient’s automatic promotion hopes.

The Bees are 10 points clear of their London rivals with five games remaining.

Cuthbert admits a top two berth will be a “tall order” but hopes the O’s can regain some form having won only once in seven games.

He said: “It will be a tall order but you never say never. All we can do is concentrate on our own form.

“It’s really frustrating at the moment. After such a good start we can’t pinpoint why we’re struggling.

“Maybe the Brentford defeat, live on Sky, knocked the stufffing out of us a little bit.

“We’re doing everything we were at the start of the season but we’re not getting the rub of the green.”

Cuthbert does not think it matters whether Orient finish third, fourth or fifth in the final League One table.

He added: “Our away record is brilliant so we’re confident we can beat anyone over two legs whether we play at home first or second.”

Of more immediate concern is Saturday’s clash with Gillingham, and the not insignificant threat posed by their hulking striker Adebayo Akinfenwa.

The striker scored in the teams’ meeting at Priestfield in December and the defender is aware of the challenge he poses.

Cuthbert said: “Akinfenwa is a difficult striker to play against, more so for the centre backs.

“It’s hard to be dominant and outmuscle him. Sometimes he’s going to win the headers but you need to make sure you gamble and pick up the second ball.

“When he plays he’s always a handful.”

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