Liverani believes O’s can stay up
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Brisbane Road manager preview’s this evening’s clash with Rochdale and discusses Jay Simpson’s importance
Leyton Orient boss Fabio Liverani believes his team have enough quality to remain in League One and has challenged them to show it tonight at Rochdale.
O’s travel to Spotland Stadium for a fixture that is the definition of a must-win game for both teams.
After losing 6-1 to MK Dons on Saturday, Orient dropped back into the bottom four and trail Crewe Alexandra, in 20th, by two points. A triumph for them against Keith Hill’s Dale will move them out of the relegation places and give the Brisbane Road club a much needed boost.
But the hosts need success themselves this evening to give them a chance of reaching the play-offs so it promises to be an entertaining game for the neutral.
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“We prepare for the game at Rochdale in the best way we can,” said Liverani. “We are hoping we can put in a very good performance and achieve a very good result.
“I believe we can stay up because in my opinion, having seen most of the sides in the league, my squad has the quality and technical ability to be above four teams.
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“We have put in very good performances at Coventry and Walsall so we have not only had bad performances this season. I am convinced my team has the qualities to avoid relegation.”
Jay Simpson is expected to retain his place this evening after scoring on his return to the starting side on Saturday.
He was a rare bright note for O’s. It was the 26-year-old’s first start under Liverani and his first since December 15.
The Italian was pleased with the contribution of the former Arsenal and Hull forward at MK Dons, but revealed his frustration at not always having him available.
“I arrived in December and Simpson was unavailable with a recurring injury for two and a half months,” added Liverani.
“When he came back into the team there were other players performing quite well like Chris Dagnall, David Mooney and Darius Henderson.
“Those three players were ahead of Simpson, but he has continued to train pretty well. He has recovered his fitness and has been good in training.
“I considered him for a start against MK Dons and he put in quite a good performance.”
Although impressed with Simpson’s display, he insisted it will only take a team effort for Orient to beat relegation with three games remaining.
Liverani added: “I am pleased with Simpson’s performance, but the key message is that we can not rely on one specific player.
“The team has to fight as a unit and altogether. It is not one player that can take us out of this situation, we have to work together to achieve that.”