Orient ‘must stay grounded’ says Clarke

Orient players celebrate Kevin Lisbie's winner against MK Dons (Simon O'Connor)

Orient players celebrate Kevin Lisbie's winner against MK Dons (Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Captain issues warning ahead of Tranmere trip

When the full-time whistle blows at Prenton Park on Saturday, Leyton Orient captain Nathan Clarke hopes his team will have done enough to prove they are not set to become this season’s Tranmere Rovers.

Rovers put together a 12-match unbeaten run at the start of last term and looked a safe bet for promotion to the Championship at the turn of the year.

However, Ronnie Moore’s men took just 11 points from their final 17 league fixtures, losing seven of their last nine, and had to settle for a disappointing 11th place finish.

The O’s head to the north-west brimming with confidence after going 11 matches unbeaten in League One, but Clarke has called on his team-mates to stay grounded.

“It gives you a decent benchmark to look at what happened to Tranmere,” said the 30-year-old defender. “They started off fantastically, likewise we have. But we know, as a group, we’ve got to keep focused. No-one is getting ahead of themselves.

“People are looking at us now wondering whether we can keep it up and it’s down to us to try and prove that we can.”

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Orient have lost four of their last five matches against Tranmere, though did earn a 2-1 win against them in February.

Manager Russell Slade has no fresh injury worries ahead of the match, though will be mindful of a potentially trickier trip to Northampton to play Coventry City on Tuesday.

The O’s have already beaten the Sky Blues twice this season in the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy though, and Clarke hopes the current feel good factor in the squad can carry them through.

“We can’t deviate from our game plan,” he said. “We haven’t won at Tranmere for quite a while, so it needs a big change and a big effort to come away with three points.

“But there is a confidence that the lads are on top form. To be in a dressing room like that spurs you on even more.

“You want to better yourself. Even in training the tempo and work ethic we show in matches is coming out because you want to keep in that XI.”

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