Slade insists Orient will survive against the odds and prove doubters wrong
O’s boss believes the bookies have got it wrong
If the bookies are to be believed then there is little for Orient fans to get excited about this season.
Orient are rank outsiders for the League One title with William Hill and are quoted as 100-1 to end the season as champions.
It makes equally depressing reading when you look at the teams who are favourites to drop through the relegation trapdoor next May.
Russell Slade’s side are 2-1 to go down along with Oldham – and only Portsmouth, Walsall, Bury and Yeovil have shorter odds to be playing League Two football next year.
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However, you can detect the irritation in Slade’s voice when you talk about the bookmakers’ odds.
It’s a situation the O’s boss has been in before and he said: “Look, it’s seriously dangerous to predict where teams are going to finish before a ball has been kicked.”
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When Slade was appointed as on April 5 2010, the O’s were in deep in the relegation mire. But he guided them to safety taking 10 points from a possible 18 as they dodged the drop by a single point.
Given their miraculous escape, the bookies quickly installed the O’s as relegation favourites for the following year.
“It didn’t bother us two seasons ago – we have seen it all before,” said Slade.
“Everyone predicted that we would go down then, yet we reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and ended up seventh in the league.
“Last season we did not have a good finish and so expecations are lower.
“If other people think our prospects are not good that’s up to them. It’s not something I worry about.”
O’s ended up 20th last season, with 50 points – seven clear of the drop zone and Slade believes the pessimism of the bookies will only help his side.
“It could work the other way and help galvanise the team,” he said.
“We have a small group and togetherness is the key for us and everyone is behind what we are doing.”
Certainly, expectations are lower than they were a year ago after O’s had finished the 2010-11 season just a point off the play-offs.
“It may help,” said Slade. “But look, every season is a new challenge. We have eight new players and for everybody here it is a fresh start.
“Two years ago we surprised everyone with a team that was rebuilt during the summer.
“We have put a lot of work in during the close season and I’m delighted with our fitness levels and we are raring to go.
“As I said before, it’s dangerous to predict where teams are going to finish before a ball has been kicked.
“Let people write us off if they want too. But I am sure we will prove them wrong.”