Laird and Orient look to push on

The next 10 games will be make or break

Marc Laird will be desperate to keep his place in the Orient side when they entertain Colchester on Saturday.

The midfielder has spent much of the season in the shadows since his move from Millwall last summer.

He has made just eight starts, but three of those have come in the last four games, as he has started to find his form.

Laird, who was 26 on Monday, scored his first goal for the club at Preston last weekend and he will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow summer signings Scott Cuthbert and Leon McSweeney.

They both made stuttering starts to their careers at Brisbane Road, but have become important members of the team.

The Scottish midfielder said: “All I can do is try and perform on the pitch and then it’s up to the manager who he decides to pick. But as long as I keep working hard, hopefully he can’t ignore me.”

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Laird’s excellent strike gave Orient the lead at Preston on Saturday and he admitted: “It was a good way to celebrate my birthday. It was a great team performance and scoring a goal was special for me as well.”

And manager Russell Slade praised the midfielder after the win: “Marc Laird does strike the ball really well and sometimes I wish he would take more opportunities, but he has taken his today. I’m pleased for him. Maybe he can push on now.”

Slade will also be hoping his team can push on in the second half of the season.

Orient picked up just three points from their opening 10 games, but since then have turned things around, losing just three of 17 league matches.

They have picked up 32 points in the process and climbed from bottom to 12th and Saturday’s win at Preston left them just seven points off the play-off places, until Stevenage’s win on Tuesday night stretched it to 10.

After Saturday’s success Slade admitted: “It’s our fifth away win of the season and its put us halfway up the table.

“If we can put a run together like we did last season then who knows where it will take us?”

Certainly Slade will have a much better idea whether a top- six place is fantasy or not after the next 10 games.

During that spell Orient play just one top-six side, Huddersfield Town, while three of the games – against Bournemouth, Bury and Brentford – are clubs O’s have to overhaul if they want to reach the top six.

The other six games are against sides currently in the bottom half of the division.