Michael Collins knows importance of keeping Leyton Orient in the Football League this season
- Credit: Archant
Experienced midfielder is not giving up just yet and has praised the younger members of O’s squad
Leyton Orient midfielder Michael Collins is conscious of the fact relegation to the National League would have a huge impact on people behind the scenes at Brisbane Road and is therefore more determined than ever to lead O’s to safety.
The 30-year-old could have left the east Londoners in January, with his contract set to expire, but signed another deal until the end of the season.
Collins is well up for the battle and believes Orient are not too far away from hitting form after showing signs of improvement under new boss Danny Webb.
He said: “You’d like to think at some stage we will pick up some results because it seems that other teams are all hitting purples patches.
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“They are going on runs and we have not had that yet, so if we can just stay in the mix and nobody pulls away from us then it does get twitchy towards the back end of the season.
“We know how important it is and it extends beyond us. As players we understand we are carrying the mantle for people’s livelihoods.
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“If you go down to the National League, it affects people way beyond just the playing side of it, so there is a little bit of extra pressure because of that.
“We certainly want to help put it right and make sure next season everybody at the club has still got a job and then hopefully everything will grow.
“If that’s the case Leyton Orient can go from strength to strength, so there is an onus on us to get the job done and we just need to get a result.”
After two encouraging performances against Carlisle United and Morecambe saw O’s remain pointless in 2017, you get the sense a solitary win or draw could be the start of a positive run.
What would help Orient is to have Liam Kelly, their signing of the season, fully fit and Paul McCallum, their top goalscorer, back again.
The latter was a huge miss on Tuesday night against Morecambe with O’s creating several chances, but taking none of them.
It is harsh to criticise forwards Sam Dalby, 17, and Victor Adeboyejo, 19, too much or 20-year-old winger Sandro Semedo.
A relegation battle is far from an ideal environment to blood youngsters into the first-team at any level, but Webb has no choice.
Collins added: “Three of our front four on Tuesday are 20 or younger, so it is a big ask for lads like that and there is a lot of pressure on them, but they’ve dealt with it well.
“Victor did really well, put himself about and we’ve got to stick with them because they are good players.
“It is not an ideal time for them to be thrown in, but it is either sink or swim and credit to them because they are swimming.
“We will remain positive as a group and the gaffer will because he’s been very unlucky. All we can do is go to Yeovil on Saturday and try to put it right.