Liam Kelly can help Leyton Orient's cause now he's back in middle
PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 February 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Vice-captain feels Brisbane Road club can achieve safety this season having analysed a lot of their matches over the last four months
Liam Kelly has spent the last four months on the sidelines watching Leyton Orient drop down the League Two table, but is confident he can prevent relegation to the National League now he’s back fully fit.
When the 27-year-old tore his hamstring against Portsmouth on October 8, the O’s still had ambitions of earning promotion this season.
A terrible run of form sees them now in a desperate fight to remain a Football League club, but Kelly feels there is hope yet.
“We have a lot of games left, but, like the manager (Danny Webb) said, we need to make sure we don’t get cut adrift,” warned O’s vice-captain after drawing at Yeovil Town.
“It is so important we pick up points from every single game, no match can be wasted and we can’t afford to have an off day.
“We need to concentrate on ourselves because other teams will do what they will do and we can’t control their results, so we just have to try and pick up points.
“Come the end of the season, if we have done that and done it well, then we will be absolutely fine.”
Having Kelly back fit again will be a huge boost for Webb and Orient as they have missed the presence of the former Oldham Athletic skipper.
Even when results were not going O’s way at the beginning of the campaign, the summer signing was usually one of their most consistent performers.
Kelly is no stranger to a relegation battle either, having helped his former club, the Latics, avoid the drop last season.
And the ex-MK Dons midfielder feels Orient can achieve safety this season having analysed a lot of their matches over the last four months while out injured.
“You learn a lot from watching games and you see a lot more from the stands than you would on the pitch or on the bench,” said Kelly.
“I think it is a case of silly errors costing us because I don’t think many teams have really cut us open with fantastic play.
“I believe it has been those little things where you need to do the basics right and so many goals in this league are scored from people switching off.
“At Yeovil we have conceded a goal like that, so if we can cut that out, be a little bit more creative and have more about us in the final third then we can score the goals, which will win us games.”
Orient, under Webb, have still shipped some sloppy goals, but they have improved massively as an attacking force and look much more threatening now.
The problem during their 1-0 loss to Morecambe on February 7 was that good chances were being wasted, but the return of Paul McCallum helped at Yeovil and O’s earned some type of reward with a late equaliser.
Myles Judd, 17, was slightly at fault for the opener at Huish Park with Francois Zoko staying alert and beating the right-back to a loose ball to score after Sam Sargeant had brilliantly denied Tom Eaves.
But Judd was largely faultless other than that moment and is one of a number of teenagers currently in the Orient team giving absolutely everything to improve fortunes.
Kelly added: “The young lads have been chucked into the deep end, but it is a great opportunity for them to go out and play some games under pressure.
“I think that will only improve them and they have stepped up to the challenge so far and they need to make sure they keep doing it.”