Defensive worries as Orient head to Tranmere
Manager Slade faces crisis as centre-backs serve suspensions
ORIENT manager Russell Slade will be without both his first-choice central defenders at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
The win against Droylsden on Tuesday night came at a cost as both Terrell Forbes and Ben Chorley were sent-off.
Forbes faces a three-game ban and Chorley one as they became the first Orient players to see red this season.
It means the defender misses a trip back to his former club and the duo will be sorely missed as the pair have played together in 17 of Orient’s 18 league games to date.
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The O’s boss was not happy with his central defensive pairing and had no complaints about the red cards.
“I agree with the referee. Terrell Forbes has come from behind and the rules are if you do that and are off the floor it’s a red card.
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“The two centre halves chose to have two of their weakest games of the season. I was so disappointed at times.
“Their number 10 (Jody Banim) looked a little bit overweight – but he ran the show.
“He looked Premier League at times and the disappointing thing was that we made him look Premier League.”
Slade will have to shuffle the pack and Aaron Brown will make only his third league start of the season, while on-loan Andrew Whing may be pressed into service as an emergency central defender.
O’s also hope to have Dean Cox available, as he missed Tuesday’s game because of a virus, although Jimmy Smith may be doubtful.
Slade admitted: “Jimmy was struggling before the game and was ill at half time.
“We may have to play Kevin Nugent at centre half on Saturday, with Slade alongside him,” he smiled.
“But we have a few carrying knocks. Scott McGleish has got a wobbly ankle and so we will wait for things to settle down and see what happens.”
Adrian Patulea has returned to the club following a loan spell at Hayes & Yeading and could also feature in Saturday’s squad.
For the fourth successive game Orient had to come from behind on Tuesday night and Slade will want to make sure it’s something the O’s eradicate from their game.
“Every time we play recently we go a goal down. It seems to be that’s our little fix to get going. But it’s frustrating and we have got to deal with situations from the first minute,” he said.
O’s have lost just once in 11 games after Tuesday night’s win, but Slade admitted he is unlikely to forget the 8-2 extra-time win against Droylsden.
“I’ve never witnessed a game like that in my entire managerial career,” he said.
“I know the FA Cup can bring so many things to the table, but that was quite spectacular in many ways, both good and bad.
“In the end we showed great character and it was all about scoring the first goal. I thought that if we could get one we would be in with a chance again. And once we got the second I knew we would go on and win the game.”