Former defensive star believes Orient will stay up
But Dickenson admits the left-back position is a problem
Orient go into Saturday’s vital relegation showdown at home to Yeovil without a genuine left-back.
On-loan Southampton defender Ryan Dickson faces a four-game ban after being sent off at Sheffield United last weekend – which effectively ends his spell at The Matchroom and he has returned to the Saints.
The O’s have already used 10 different players in a position that has become a constant headache for manager Russell Slade following the departure of Charlie Daniels to Bournemouth at the start of December.
Leon McSweeney, who has slotted in on a makeshift basis, is now back in light training following a calf injury – but has missed the last six games.
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He would be one option if the O’s boss gambles on his fitness, otherwise Slade will be forced to play one of his central defenders on the left – with Dean Leacock and Terrell Forbes the two obvious candidates. Leacock did a decent job when he moved there following Dickson’s dismissal on Saturday, but is suffering with a foot problem.
But one of Orient’s best known left-backs, Kevin Dickenson, who helped the club win promotion in 1989, insists it’s not easy to make the switch from centre-half.
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“As a defender you want a settled back four and it doesn’t make life easy when you have to keep making changes,” he said.
“It’s remarkable that Orient have had to use so many left-backs in one season. Without that consistency it is not easy.”
Dickenson made 229 starts for the O’s between 1985 and 1992 and insists that left-back is a specialist position.
“If you are a centre-half it’s very difficult to go out and play wide. It’s alien to you. If you’re not left-footed it’s difficult, because you will want to tackle with your right foot,” he said.
Dickenson has watched Orient several times this season and believes that one more win should see them safe.
“Hopefully they can do it on Saturday, but it’s always going to be difficult when they have only won five times at home and the pressure will be on them,” he said.
“There was pressure when we were in the play-offs, because you know you cannot afford to lose.
“But we were on a good run and went into the play-offs with confidence and expected to win.
“At the other end of the table it’s different. You’re there because you are not playing well and so the confidence will not be great and confidence is key in every sport.”
But Dickenson expects his old club to survive in League One and Orient fans will be delighted that the 49-year-old will not be at The Matchroom for the Yeovil game.
“I think I’ve seen Orient six or seven times this season and I’ve not seen them win,” reflected the Hackney-born defender.
“The only time they took a point was when Kevin Lisbie scored with the last kick of the game against Sheffield United.”
With so few home wins this season even Status Quo must be feeling the pinch from a lack of royalties, and how relieved O’s fans will be to hear Rocking All Over The World just after the game!