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Automatic promotion “not out of the question” says Slade after Orient draw with Walsall

PUBLISHED: 13:16 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:16 24 March 2014

Orient goalscorer Nathan Clarke celebrates with Dean Cox after his equaliser at Walsall. Pic by Simon O'Connor

Orient goalscorer Nathan Clarke celebrates with Dean Cox after his equaliser at Walsall. Pic by Simon O'Connor

2 BURNHAM RD CHINGFORD LONDON E4 8PE

As Orient’s automatic promotion prospects suffered another dent manager Russell Slade insisted a top two place is not “out of the question”.

The boss admitted the 1-1 draw at Walsall would have been a good point in “normal circumstances” but with Wolves and Brentford both winning on Saturday it leaves the O’s four points behind the second-place Bees, who have two games in hand.

Slade said: “We need two big efforts in these home games (against Oldham tomorrow and Bradford on Saturday).

“Automatic promotion isn’t out of the question but it’s a big ask.

“Under normal circumstances that would have been a good point. Walsall haven’t lost after going in front this season.”

Orient were boosted by the return of goalkeeper Jamie Jones on the bench after three months out with a back injury and Mathieu Baudry overcome a hamstring strain to start.

But Shaun Batt withdrew from the bench after struggling with a virus and Romain Vincelot faces a two-match ban after picking up his 10th booking of the season.

“I’m not sure what the exact problem with Shaun is,” he explained.

“It’s not a muscle injury but he’s had a bit of a bug. He was struggling to move and breathe and the doctor pulled him out.

“Romain’s out for two games but we have midfielders who can come in.”

Slade added he was disappointed with how Orient started the game but feels they could have won as they finished strongly.

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