Leyton Orient v Pompey: The Insider

Paul McCallum, who had a loan spell at Pompey, began his Orient career in fine form before getting injured
Paul McCallum, who had a loan spell at Pompey, began his Orient career in fine form before getting injured
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Tom Bodell, of the Guardian Series, gives his verdict on Leyton Orient’s campaign so far.

Leyton Orient won all five of their League Two games in August – but it has gone badly since then.

Take that start out of the equation and it is essentially relegation form for a side which now sits in 10th spot.

On Saturday the fans turned for the first time after slipping 1-0 behind against struggling Yeovil Town at home.

There were chants directed at manager Ian Hendon – not from everybody and not for very long but they were there.

Then when it was petering out towards a Yeovil win, the phone lights came out and a rendition of ‘We are bored’.

Strangely that had the desired effect and Jobi McAnuff scored an equaliser as it finished 1-1.

Another couple of bad results will probably produce similar things and I think Hendon is a victim of his own early success.

Perhaps if Orient had spread those wins out across the campaign to currently occupy 10th spot that would be fine.

As it is, there is a sense of having fallen away from the top rather than being in touch with the play-offs.

The result is a growing number of anti-Hendon supporters.

Orient’s aim from this summer was to win promotion after dropping down from League One, although that appears difficult to achieve.

They are playing so poorly, confidence is low and the squad cannot cope with the injuries.

Their only hope is to get more bodies in during January to give them a lift.

Paul McCallum and Dean Cox are big misses – both out with knee ligament damage.

McCallum, who was on loan at Pompey last year, looked really good in pre-season and then scored three goals in his opening nine matches before getting injured.

As for Cox, he is far too good for this level and probably League One, a player who can change a game and produce something unexpected in a team so rigid and functional without him.

The key player has been Jay Simpson, who has netted 16 times in 22 games and shown he is well above this level and a constant threat.

What’s more, he scores all kinds of goals and is someone clubs will be looking at next month, although Orient have insisted he is going nowhere.

Pompey fans may also be familiar with Cole Kpekawa, who has largely operated at left-back since his loan arrival from QPR in November.

He wants to get forward and offers plenty of width.

The teenager has the attributes of the modern-day full-back, being tall, physical and athletic.