McAnuff and Orient ready for key games
- Credit: Archant
Former Reading midfielder discusses his fitness and full of praise for full back Frazer Shaw
Jobi McAnuff is looking forward to getting his match sharpness back over the coming weeks with Leyton Orient suddenly preparing for several important games.
The O’s 1-1 draw in the FA Cup with Scunthorpe United on Saturday means they will have to do it all over again at Glanford Park on Tuesday.
And Ian Hendon’s men will have three very important games to play in the space of seven days now after their stalemate in the cup last weekend.
The first is at Mansfield Town in League Two on Saturday and when you consider the position of both teams in the table, it becomes a pivotal clash.
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Orient are one spot and one point below the Stags, who sit seventh in the standings, meaning a positive result this weekend for Hendon’s side is crucial.
Following that they head back up north to take on Scunthorpe in their FA Cup second round replay that suddenly becomes even more important than before.
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Why? Because the winner will have a trip to Stamford Bridge to prepare for on the weekend of January 8-11 to take on Premier League champions Chelsea.
McAnuff seems set to play a big part in the next two games coming up as well, as the league clash with Yeovil Town on December 19.
A few weeks ago that would have been unthinkable, but the Jamaican is involved again and relishing the opportunity.
Despite only playing his first 90 minutes of the season for Orient on Saturday, the former Reading captain feels in good shape.
McAnuff said: “I don’t feel too bad fitness-wise. It was probably the first 20 or 30 minutes where I got my first real blow in and I needed to get my second wind.
“But considering it has been a long time since I played over here, where it is a lot faster and a higher tempo, I’m delighted to get through 90 minutes.
“Obviously I’ll get fitter, stronger and a bit sharper. You can keep up a good general level of fitness, but it’s match sharpness. I felt my touch and stuff wasn’t 100 per cent on Saturday.
“It’s my first game back, so I’m just glad to get it out of the way and hopefully I can crack on now.”
McAnuff has had to wait a long time to return to the Orient side, but still faced questions about his future after the Scunthorpe game.
He was keen to express how content he is at Brisbane Road and how a move away from the club in January is not on his mind.
“I’m happy here and I’ve always said to people at the club I am happy here,” added McAnuff.
That should please supporters and may be music to the ears of left-back Frazer Shaw.
He has been excellent since returning to the first-team fold at the start of November.
Shaw spent just over a month off the pitch and was consigned to the substitutes’ bench after the 2-1 loss Orient suffered at home to Carlisle United on September 29.
But after coming back into the starting line-up, he has been so composed and linked up with McAnuff on several occasions against Scunthorpe.
“I have actually played a couple of games with Frazer early on when I first came back and then a few behind-closed-door matches too,” revealed McAnuff.
“He is somebody I enjoy playing with. For me he gets forward well and obviously supports me in that way and I can help him out the other way sometimes, so I enjoy playing with him.”