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Slade looks resigned to play-offs as poor Orient run continues

19:10 30 March 2014

Orient manager Russell Slade. Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Orient manager Russell Slade. Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

Orient manager Russell Slade admitted it might be the play-offs for the first time this season in the wake of yesterday’s defeat by Bradford.

Despite former O’s trainee Aaron McLean scoring the only goal of the game, other results have guaranteed them at least a top six berth come May.

But one win in six has seriously damaged Orient’s automatic promotion credentials, with the east Londoners four points behind Brentford, who have two games in hand - and in-form Rotherham are also breathing down their neck.

Slade said: “It will probably be about the play-offs now. It’s so frustrating the week we’ve had. We might look back and kick ourselves but in terms of effort and commitment I’m not sure we could have given more.

“We had three great opportunities to go in front but if you don’t do your job from set pieces you’ll get punished.

“The whole season has been excellent. What we’ve achieved so far is monumental but there’s so much more to play for.

“We need to get our form back though, we’re struggling to score goals but I’m sure we’ll get it back.”

The Orient manager reserved praise for the “excellent” fans he had criticised after Tuesday’s draw with Oldham.

He was also delighted to have Jamie Jones back in goal for the first time in more than three months with Eldin Jakupovic being recalled by Hull and Slade took the opportunity to rest some players.

“Jamie made a couple of good saves, that will do him the world of good,” he said. “That’s pleasing.

“I thought the supporters were excellent. It kept our team performing. They kept trying to pass, which can be difficult when a team defends so deep. If they’d been any deeper they’d have needed snorkels.

“It was an opportunity to give one or two a little breather like Elliot (Omozusi) and Lloyd (James).”

One moment of contention saw O’s assistant manager Kevin Nugent and Bradford boss Phil Parkinson both banished to the stands after a half-time altercation.

It stemmed from the referee controversially ending the half with Orient on the attack, and the home side thought they should have had a penalty for handball as the ball was crossed into the box.

Slade added: “I’ve looked at it closely and it’s a clear handball. We’re crossing a ball into the box and he blows up, early according to our watch.”

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