McAnuff: We can’t drop our level

Leyton Orient's Jobi McAnuff makes a great tackle on Scunthorpe United's Scott Laird (pic: Simon O'C

Leyton Orient's Jobi McAnuff makes a great tackle on Scunthorpe United's Scott Laird (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

The O’s midfielders previews Mansfield, discusses position in the table and future hopes

Leyton Orient have shown what they are capable of and can’t let it drop anymore, that is the view of midfielder Jobi McAnuff.

The 34-year-old has only appeared twice for the O’s this season, but was part of the side that impressed against Scunthorpe United last weekend in the FA Cup.

Ian Hendon’s men more than matched the League One outfit despite being without a whole host of players due to injuries, suspensions or unavailability.

McAnuff will hope his display against the Iron will be enough to earn him a second consecutive start tomorrow (Saturday) at Mansfield Town.

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He said: “It is definitely encouraging that we matched Scunthorpe. When you are playing against a higher opposition team, what you want to do first and foremost is match them.

“I thought we did that and went a bit beyond it too. That is our level now, we can’t drop off because we are back to League Two football.

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“We have proven against Scunthorpe what we can do and we need to maintain that now.”

Orient’s match at Field Mill is a crucial encounter with the Stags occupying seventh place in the table.

They are one point and one position above the east Londoners, but an away victory this weekend would see Hendon’s men leapfrog the hosts and move back into the play-offs.

Although supporters have been disappointed to see the O’s drop down the standings after being top of the league in September, McAnuff insisted they shouldn’t worry.

Speaking from experience, the former Reading captain believes it is important Orient remain in the hunt, which they are.

McAnuff added: “People look at the table and think ‘they are not second or first,’ but if you are in the mix at the turn of the year going into February then you are in a good position to strike.

“It is just about creating momentum to that point and staying in the mix, which we are. It is all off the back of a lot of changes.

“We had a new manager and it has probably gone under the radar a little bit, especially because of the start we had.

“Everyone thought we were going to run away with it, but that’s not football. I think we can be fairly pleased with the first little bit of the season and the business end is starting to come up now.”

McAnuff did admit that of course the club would like to be at the top of the League Two table.

But he is fully confident that come May, Orient will have achieved what they set out to at the start of the season.

“We want to be at the top, of course we do, but as long as we are in striking distance and performances are there, which they have been, then I am sure we can get to where we need to get to,” concluded the Jamaican international.

*If Leyton Orient beat Scunthorpe United in next Tuesday’s FA Cup second round replay, their third round tie against Premier League champions Chelsea will be shown live on BT Sport 2.

The O’s will visit Stamford Bridge and take on the Blues on Sunday January 10 for a 2pm kick-off.

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