Las Vegas talk on the back burner at Orient as Cuthbert eyes play-off glory
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Leyton Orient players may be assured of a trip to Las Vegas already, but defender Scott Cuthbert wants the O’s to crown their season off in style with promotion to the Championship.
Initially Peterborough United stand in their way, before a potential test against either Preston North End or Rotherham United at Wembley.
But whether their season ends on Tuesday after the second leg, or is extended to the Bank Holiday weekend later on this month, a trip to Las Vegas is on the cards.
O’s chairman Barry Hearn set the side a 75-point target that he thought would see them make the play-offs.
Hearn would have been right with that prediction, but the team ended the regular season 86 points – surpassing their highest-ever points total in their history to secure third spot in the League One table, and seal the advantage of a home second leg.
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And while that’s a nice treat for the O’s after a long, but hopefully fruitful season, Cuthbert doesn’t want to think about it until they have secured their place in the second tier of English football.
“The chairman said that at the start of the season (we’d be off to Las Vegas with 75 points), it’s not something that we’ve let cross our minds,” said Cuthbert.
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“We have got to get promoted first. Once the season is over we will focus on that.”
Walking into the training ground yesterday you would have thought the atmosphere might be one of anxiousness ahead of the most important game of the season.
But there was Cuthbert and skipper Nathan Clarke playing rock, papers, scissors. And one half of that centre half pairing feels the feel-good atmosphere around the place stems from the top of the Brisbane Road hierarchy.
“It’s good to have those characters,” he added. “I think we have got a lot of people in the team like that to be honest. Our chairman is like that as well as the manager.
“It’s good to have about the place; it keeps everyone on their toes and everyone’s having a good laugh about the place.
“That’s important, especially after defeats and what not. You maybe pick up a few results that aren’t what you expected and it’s great to come in on a Monday and Tuesday and be just like you’ve won. You just carry on and keep doing what we’re doing and that’s just the way this club has been like since I joined.”
Cuthbert, like a few others in the O’s team have plenty of experience when it comes to play-offs.
The Scotland-born centre half went through the heartache of a play-off final loss whilst with Swindon Town in his first season in the Football League as they lost out to Millwall back in 2010.
That experience can be crucial, but the sole thought for the 26-year-old is to afford a repeat of the Wembley agony.
“We have been talking about that play-off experience,” he added.
“Clarkey (Nathan Clarke), Lis (Kevin Lisbie) Moons (David Mooney) and myself as well who have played in the play-offs and I suppose that experience can help you.
“It can help the younger boys as well. But every play-off is different, we are going to Peterborough and it is a different challenge for us, but it’s one that we are looking forward to.”
The O’s had stuttered of late, but go into tomorrow’s game at London Road on the back of two wins – the latest a 3-1 success at MK Dons last weekend.
Kevin Lisbie’s double and one for David Mooney did the job at stadiummk as both Orient and their strikers go into the play-offs full of confidence.
And while form is something you can take into the end of season showdown they find themselves in, Cuthbert believes that counts for nothing.
“It’s ideal. It was important that the last few games of the season were used to build a bit of momentum,” said the defender.
“We have done that and I think the performance last week, although I wasn’t playing, I was there watching it and we were different class from the front two back. We have got the momentum, but so have Peterborough.
“I think sometimes when you head into the play-offs form can go out of the window a little bit, it’s whoever shows up on the day. It’s all well having that form but you have got to perform on the day otherwise it counts for nothing.”