Callum Kennedy is hoping Liam Kelly can boost Leyton Orient on return
PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 March 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Former Oldham Athletic captain has been sorely missed this season, but will be raring to go on Saturday against Doncaster Rovers
Callum Kennedy believes the return of Leyton Orient’s vice-captain Liam Kelly will hand the club a major boost this weekend.
League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers make the journey down to Brisbane Road on Saturday with O’s seven points from safety and now bottom of the table.
Kelly has been unavailable for Orient since being handed a six-match suspension by the FA for an act of violent conduct at Plymouth Argyle on February 14.
The ex-Oldham Athletic captain played a crucial part in helping Danny Webb’s team draw at Yeovil Town and win at Home Park and the O’s have certainly missed him.
“Liam was really looking forward to coming back after his hamstring injury and when he did last month you saw that because he put in a couple of great performances,” said Kennedy last week.
“That led to us getting a point at Yeovil and a win at Plymouth, so with what happened – it was a big blow to lose him again.
“But he trains ridiculously hard every day and has a great attitude, so when he comes back it will be the same as before.”
Orient suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat away to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night – the final match of Kelly’s six-game ban.
Webb’s team have nine fixtures left including Saturday’s encounter with Rovers and the club are set to appear in court on Monday (March 20) over a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs.
It is a worrying time for the east Londoners on and off the pitch, but Kelly coming back for the Doncaster game is a big plus for the O’s.
Gavin Massey, who missed the win at Newport County and the defeat at home to Grimsby Town last Saturday, is available again.
Both are vital for Orient and they provide Webb with the chance to give some of his talented youngsters a break after a demanding couple of weeks for the teenagers.
The O’s boss reflected on the return of Kelly and admitted the victory at Plymouth on February 14 come at some cost.
Orient’s vice-captain was subsequently banned following the 3-2 win and they also lost Nicky Hunt for two games after.
Hunt picked up his 10th booking of the campaign and missed the crucial home games against Notts County and Cheltenham Town as a result.
Webb added: “It is fantastic to have ‘Kels’ back. I think when you go back to that Plymouth match it should have been a springboard, but ‘Hunty’ got suspended, ‘Kels’ got suspended and it just knocks you back.
“I suppose in a weird way we were due a night like Tuesday and I know score at Stevenage (4-1 defeat) was harsh, but we have never come off feeling this low and without loads of positives.
“Now there weren’t a lot of positives at Accrington, but me being the ever optimist I did see things in individuals which only I would know. I saw some individual progressions, but it is hard to stomach when the result is that bad.”