Forget the Arsenal game warns Orient skipper Dawson

The O’s face important league games before FA Cup clash

ORIENT skipper Stephen Dawson insists the team have to forget about their dream FA Cup against Arsenal as they head to Bournemouth at the weekend.

After Tuesday night’s draw with leaders Brighton, the O’s are just three points above the drop zone and on Saturday Russell Slade’s side travel to second-in-the-table Bournemouth, before entertaining Swindon Town next Tuesday.

“We have got to put the Arsenal game to one side, because we have a few important league games coming up before then,” said Dawson.

“We have got to forget about the FA Cup and start getting some points on the board.”

It’s a crucial stage of the season for Orient. With the FA Cup fifth round tie on the horizon, the O’s could get sucked back into trouble if they don’t pick up too many points from the games against Bournemouth, Swindon, Bristol Rovers and MK Dons, before they go into the Arsenal game.

While the Arsenal game might be on the back burner, Dawson was delighted with the draw.

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After four successive away ties, the O’s were finally pulled out of the hat first and Dawson said: “You can’t argue with that – it’s a game we’re all looking forward too.

“It will be a great day for the players and the fans. I’m sure it will be a sell-out and we have finally got our reward.”

An away tie might have been more financially rewarding, a point Dawson acknowledged: “If we could have picked a game it would have been Arsenal away, because that would have been nice from a revenue point of view.

“I’m pleased for Barry Hearn (chairman) as the club runs at a loss and he covers that and not everyone realises that.”

The prospect of playing against Arsenal’s multi-talented team is a challenge that Dawson will relish.

“It will be great to see so many stars at Orient and it’s great to test yourself against better quality opposition,” he said.

The O’s have now lost just once in 16 games and Dawson added:“It goes to show just how far we have come.I think that we have gelled together as a side. We have a lot of games coming up, but we have got a great spirit and a never-say-die attitude.”

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