Nicky Hunt: Leyton Orient Fans' Trust protest will not affect players' focus at home to Blackpool
PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 November 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Ex-Bolton Wanderers defender confident O's squad can make it back-to-back wins in League Two this weekend
Nicky Hunt has told his Leyton Orient team-mates to focus on getting a rare win at Brisbane Road on Saturday and not any possible joint protest by the O’s and Blackpool fans.
The east Londoners entertain the Tangerines in League Two this weekend with talk in the build-up to the match dominated by supporters from both clubs preparing to protest against the way each is being run.
The Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust held their AGM last Thursday (November 10) and decided they would stage a peaceful protest against O’s Italian president Francesco Becchetti.
Hunt said: “Obviously if we know it is happening and what is going on we’ll think about it, but we won’t let the protest affect us.
“As a group of players and as men we just want to focus on getting that second home win of the season in the league. That is what we need to do.”
LOFT’s plan is to march from the Birkbeck Tavern, the pub where they hosted their AGM last week, to Brisbane Road on Saturday at 2pm holding up banners, which will read ‘we want our club back.’
During the 18th minute of the match, O’s supporters will sing ‘Stand up for the Orient’ and Blackpool fans are expected to sing their equivalent.
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust are unhappy with their owner and despite O’s win last weekend, there are no suggestions the protest plans will be scrapped.
Orient remain 19th in the table despite Alberto Cavasin claiming just his second victory as manager at Colchester United on Saturday.
The east Londoners form on the road has been encouraging all season, but at Brisbane Road they have struggled.
A 3-0 triumph over Stevenage on August 16 is the only win they have picked up at home this season in League Two – Orient have lost all six fixtures since.
Hunt added: “The fans have been brilliant and different class away from home and at home. We know we have not put in the performances or got the results at Brisbane Road.
“We know that as players our form there needs to be 10 times better and it starts again this Saturday. Hopefully we can get another clean sheet because we can build on that. We struggle when we go behind, the heads go down.
“I don’t know why that is and it needs to be addressed, but as far as this weekend goes we just need to concentrate on playing football.”
More goals from Jay Simpson this Saturday will help O’s end their poor form at Brisbane Road.
Last season’s top goalscorer looked sharp and close to being back to his best at Colchester United, which bodes well for the future.
It has turned out to be a difficult year for the forward despite starting 2016 with a double at Stevenage on January 2 when Ian Hendon was still in charge.
Before his brace last weekend, Simpson had scored just seven times over the last 11 months – in stark contrast to his form in the early part of the 2015/16 season when he bagged 18 goals in his first 24 League Two matches.
Hunt believes match fitness is key, with the forward starting Orient’s last three games in all competitions.
“They were two fantastic strikes and he has got goals in him, he showed that last year,” said O’s club captain. “He needs to start week in, week out and the fitter he gets the more goals he’ll score. You only get fit by playing games and on Saturday he showed what he can do.”