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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big Match Preview - Leyton Orient vs. Peterborough

Leyton Orient vs. Peterborough United
Friday April 22, 15:00, Brisbane Road

Two sides looking to make sure they enjoy a Good Friday clash in East London tomorrow afternoon as promotion hopefuls Peterborough visit a Leyton Orient side still with an eye on the play offs.

With games running out, and both sides playing catch-up in their respective races, they know that three points tomorrow are paramount if they are to keep their dreams alive.

For the home side, currently sitting in 8th place, they still harbour hopes of overturning a five point deficit to sneak into the final play off berth currently occupied by Bournemouth.

Orient were struggling towards the wrong end of the table in the Autumn, but inspired by a great run in the FA Cup went on a run of one defeat in 19 league matches.

It propelled Russell Slade's men to the very fringes of the play offs, but since the O's have won just one of their last eight to lose ground on their rivals at the very worst moment.

However, Slade - who has twice taken sides into the play offs during his managerial career - will know that, with his team's last two fixtures against struggling sides, that a win against Peterborough will keep his team in with a chance.

The O's have generally been solid at Brisbane Road this term, suffering just four defeats from 21 matches, although they have lost two of their last four to Southampton and a crushing 5-1 loss to Yeovil.

Key performers for Orient this season are veteran striker Scott McGleish with 17 goals in all competitions, and fellow forward Alex Revell has 14 to his name too.

Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade has not given up hopes of the top six

Opponents Peterborough are almost guaranteed a place in at least the play offs, but the Cambridgeshire outfit still retain hopes of sneaking up automatically.

It would echo their achievement of two years ago, when Darren Ferguson guided Posh to successive promotions into the Championship - where they endured a nightmare campaign.

Now Ferguson - after a calamitous 12 months at Preston North End - is back in charge and is once more competing for promotion with the London Road outfit.

He assumed control after United appeared to be losing direction under Gary Johnson with the team, while potent going forwards, leaking goals at an alarming rate. Just three defeats in 18 have been suffered since Ferguson's return though.

Posh even went on a sequence of four consecutive clean sheets. However, their defensive frailties - 69 goals have been leaked - are never far away though, and were typified by them throwing a 3-1 lead against Bournemouth recently.

With League One's top scorer in 25-goal man Craig Mackail Smith in their ranks though, Ferguson's free scoring team have an attacking arsenal that can often be enough to overpower their divisional opponents.

This is a big game for both teams. Arguably more so for Posh though, who know they can't afford to drop any more points if they are to make the top two and gain automatic promotion.

I'm going to back Peterborough to continue the chase and end Orient's faint top six chances. Their attacking power should be too much for an Orient side whose best form this season is behind them.

Nobes' Prediction: Leyton Orient 1 Peterborough United 3

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