ORIENT manager Russell Slade believes his side still should take pride in their position despite a recent loss of form which has seen them win one of their last five games in the League 1 promotion race.
A draw for Crawley in midweek means the O’s are guaranteed at the least a play-off place this season with six games to go and 18 points still to play for.
“We as the staff take great pride in what the players have achieved so far this season,” said Slade. “At the beginning of the journey our ambition was to go a little bit further than last year and finish in the top six. We’ve achieved that now with six games to go which is a monumental effort. Make no mistake, there’s still plenty to play for.”
Sheffield United are the hosts on Saturday, a side who have been in formidable form in 2014 both in the League and in the FA Cup where they have a semi-final against Hull City to look forward to.
“Nigel [Clough] has done a remarkable job since he came in at Bramall Lane,” said the O’s boss. “They were languishing near the bottom of the table and now have an FA Cup semi-final in the bag too. I watched them on Tuesday and they got a very good point against Brentford. They still have a slim chance of making the play-offs this year and if the season was a bit longer then I think they would definitely be in the mix.
“What we have though is a wonderful away record. We’ve taken 40 points from 20 games on the road and we want to preserve that. Bramall Lane is a big place to go and I know it well having worked there but we enjoy the big occasion and have a good record at places like that so can approach it with confidence.”
Jamie Jones returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines last weekend against Bradford though Slade revealed further injury news on Thursday ahead of the weekend.
“Romain Vincelot is still a doubt with his foot problem and hasn’t resumed full training yet, whilst Marvin [Bartley] will be out with his hamstring problem though he is making decent progress. Everybody else looks OK as we stand. We had a behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday against Dagenham & Redbridge and Shaun Batt came through 60 minutes which was pleasing whilst the likes of Simpson, Lasimant and Gorman all got some valuable minutes under their belts.”