O’s expecting real FA Trophy fight with Spartans
PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 February 2019
Leyton Orient v Ebbsfleet United(a)
Alun Armstrong’s team are 10th in the National League North this season
Justin Edinburgh knows Blyth Spartans will be out to show their worth against his National League leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The O’s take a break from the battle for the title again, like they did on January 12, as the Spartans make the trip down to London for an FA Trophy third round clash.
Orient and the Green Army are competing for a place in the last eight and Edinburgh has again told fans his ambitions for this cup.
While O’s will be expected to get through, it could be tricky against a club currently in the top half of the National League North table.
“Everyone knows, since I have been here, I view it as a competition we feel we can get close to winning and that will reflect in the side I put out,” Edinburgh said.
“It is a home game and a game we feel we can win. We will come up against an opposition who will try to prove themselves. They come from a lower level, but I will pick a team I feel can go on and win the game.”
When the draw was made a link between the clubs was pointed out in regards to First World War hero and ex-O Richard McFadden.
McFadden was a member of the Clapton Orient squad which signed up en masse to fight for King and country in December 1914.
Prior to his move to London, he played his football for Blyth and at the weekend two of his old clubs will do battle in the capital.
Josh Koroma will miss the tie with a hamstring injury picked up in the 3-0 win over Maidstone United.
He suffered the problem during the second half and will be absent for the next three to four weeks.
Matt Harrold could now get an opportunity alongside Macauley Bonne, but O’s may look at bringing an extra attacker in.
Someone who could answer the call potentially is Jay Simpson, who continues to train with Orient.
The forward is a free agent, after leaving MLS side Philadelphia Union in November, and while he targeted a move to the Football League, O’s are interested in their old striker.
Edinburgh said: “Nothing has changed. Jay has been with us and he knows where we are. He has been training well with us.
“I think people can put two and two together and come up with whatever they want. We have allowed him to use our facilities to keep himself ticking over.”
Orient have confirmed if Saturday’s tie remains level at the end of the 90 minutes, a replay will be required, which would take place on Tuesday, February 5.