Leyton Orient finally return to action with FA Cup clash at Stoke City

Harry Smith of Leyton Orient scores the third goal for his team and celebrates during Leyton Orient

Harry Smith of Leyton Orient celebrates with Aaron Drinan and Theo Archibald - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leyton Orient will finally return to action after a long lay-off due to Covid causing havoc on their festive fixtures as they look to produce some magic in the FA Cup against Stoke City. 

The O’s will travel away to the Bet365 Stadium to face the Championship outfit in a third round clash on Sunday (2pm). 

Kenny Jackett’s side have progressed past Ebbsfleet United and Tranmere Rovers in the first two rounds of the cup competition in emphatic style.

The last time the O’s reached the third round was during the 2013/14 season where they crashed to a heavy 4-0 defeat to Yeovil Town.

They have struggled in the competition ever since and have done well to reach this hurdle already this campaign, but will be hoping to pull off an upset.

The clash comes after a long lay-off where they last played away to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, December 18 and lost 1-0, and have since seen clashes with Colchester United, Newport County and Bristol Rovers postponed due to Covid.

The O's will be hoping the break has given everyone in the squad a chance to recover and get back to full fitness although Tom James is expected to remain sidelined for a lengthy period of time.

Theo Archibald of Leyton Orient and Ethan Robson of Milton Keynes Dons during Leyton Orient vs MK Do

Theo Archibald of Leyton Orient and Ethan Robson of Milton Keynes Dons - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

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They'll be keen to try adding a right-back during the transfer window to fill the void current left in James' absence among perhaps a few other additions to help them push on.

There is growing speculation surrounding Theo Archibald being recalled by his parent club Lincoln City, but it would seem strange considering The Imps have just signed Morgan Whittaker on loan from Swansea City.

Orient are also being linked with loan deal for young Crystal Palace defender Reece Hannam to help bolster their options at the back although it is doubtful anyone could arrive in time for Stoke clash.

You do wonder whether Kenny Jackett could finally deploy a front three of Harry Smith, Aaron Drinan and Paul Smyth which he has been keen on giving a go for quite some time but injuries have prevented it.