BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Mansfield Town v Leyton Orient - Saturday, 28th January 2017

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BIG MATCH PREVIEW

The last time Mansfield Town manager Steve Evans crossed swords with Leyton Orient was three years ago in the League One play-off Final.

Evans was boss at Rotherham at the time and he inflicted heartbreak on the O’s as the Millers came back from two goals down at the break to force extra-time and then win a penalty shoot-out 4-3 to book a place in the Championship.

The defeat consigned the O’s to another season in League One and since then they have been in free-fall and if Evans inflicts another defeat on Orient at the weekend their battle for Football League survival could start to look bleak as the Londoners go into Saturday’s game in 21st place, just two points above the drop zone. They have lost their last three games on the bounce but were without a game last week due to the weather.

Ex-Stags Nicky Hunt and Ollie Palmer will be in their squad.

In contrast, the Stags are five League games unbeaten following an impressive 3-1 win at Cambridge United last weekend and full of confidence, despite their midweek Checkatrade Cup quarter-final exit to Wycombe.

They will be boosted by a bigger-than-average crowd as fans take up the club’s two games for the price of one offer.

STAGS TEAM NEWS

Mansfield will have all four cup-tied players from midweek - Hayden White, Joel Byrom, Ben Whiteman and Shaq Coulthirst - available again and likely to be recalled.

Boss Evans must then decide which front pairing to go with with Danny Rose favourite to replace top scorer Matt Green after being part of the side that won at Cambridge last week and Green failing to score on Tuesday.

POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI

Kean, White, Pearce, Bennett, Benning; Collins; Whiteman, Byrom, Hamilton; Coulthirst, D. Rose.

ORIENT TEAM NEWS

With last weekend’s game against fellow crisis-club Morecambe called off, Edwards has little room to manoeuvre with team selection for the trip to Mansfield and is likely to name a similar line-up to the side that suffered a 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth in the last game two weeks ago.

Midfielder Sandro Semedo recovered from a toe injury to play at Fratton Park, while midfielder Sammy Moore, who was recalled from his loan spell at Dover, also made the starting line-up to make his first appearance of the season.

The only injury concern for Edwards is 17-year-old striker Sam Dalby has not played since suffering an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw with Cambridge at the end of December.

POSSIBLE ORIENT STARTING XI

Cisak, Parkes Mezague, Hunt, Semedo, Moore, Atangana, Collins, Judd, Massey, McCallum.

KEY BATTLE HAYDEN WHITE v GAVIN MASSEY

Despite recent departures, boss Andy Edwards still has some talent in the squad and one of Orient’s key men on Saturday will be Gavin Massey, who was signed for an undisclosed fee from Colchester United in the summer.

The 24-year-old, who made over 150 League appearances for the U’s before his move to the capital, operates out wide, but can also move inside, has pace to worry defenders and has been a virtual ever-present, missing just one league game this season.

He made an indelible mark when he scored on his Orient debut at Cheltenham Town in a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the season and also netted in the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth in Orient’s last league game.

Click HERE to see a video interview with Massey after signing in the summer

ORIENT ONE TO WATCH: ALEX CISAK

Impressive goalkeeper Cisak is definitely one to watch, providing there is no late transfer movement, as he, along with Tom Parkes, has played in every single League game this season and has made a number of crucial saves.

OPPOSITION MANAGER: ANDY EDWARDS

It has been difficult start for Andy Edwards, who joined Orient as youth team manager in 2009 and later became Academy Director, before taking over the manager’s role on November 23.

During his playing days the central defender achieved six promotions and played for a number of clubs including Southend United, Birmingham City, Rushden & Diamonds, Grays Athletic and Aldershot Town, but is best known for a seven-year stint at Peterborough United, where he played 267 league games.

Since joining the O’s he has been responsible for a number of young players coming through the ranks.

Click HERE to see video of Edwards talking after their last game against Portsmouth

ORIENT SEASON SO FAR

Just 12 months after their Wembley League One play-off final defeat, O’s were relegated from League One, but last season they ended in eighth, just missing out on the play-offs and they started the current campaign as 10-1 joint third favourites to win the title.

That early-season optimism seem justified and when Mansfield Town were the visitors to Brisbane Road back in late August, the O’s were in fourth place at the time, but Matt Green scored an 89th winner to put the skids under the home side and since then the season has started to unravel, with Orient now one of the favourites to be relegated

O’s manager Andy Hessenthaler became the first managerial departure in the Football League when he was sacked following a three-game winless streak in September and his successor Alberto Cavasin did not last too long either.

The 60-year-old Italian, who was appointed at the start of October, was axed after seven weeks following a run of eight defeats in 10 games in all competitions.

Cavasin was the eighth manager to take charge of the club since it was bought by Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti in the summer of 2014 and assistant manager Andy Edwards, who had a two-game spell as caretaker manager earlier in the season, has been put in charge until the end of the current campaign.

Since then Becchetti has said he would consider “appropriate offers” for the club and Edwards has been forced to rely heavily on the club’s successful youth team as a raft of senior players have departed.

Once the January transfer window opened striker Jay Simpson agreed a move to MLS side Philadelphia Union.

Simpson had been top scorer at the O’s last season, netting 25 goals in all competitions and during his time at the club scored 33 league goals in 87 appearances.

The striker was followed out of the exit door by fellow forward Jordan Bowery, who joined Crewe Alexandra on loan for the rest of the season and experienced defender Alan Dunne became the third player to leave this month when he departed by mutual consent.

With Harry Cornick returning to parent club Bournemouth after his loan spell ended, it leaves O’s with a wafer-thin squad and there could be more departures before the weekend.

Despite manager Edwards insisting the struggling side need more experience it seems the club are prepared to listen to offers for goalkeeper Alex Cisak along with defenders Tom Parkes, a summer signing from Bristol Rovers, where he played 175 league games and Callum Kennedy, who joined in June for AFC Wimbledon.

To add to the huge problems facing Edwards, he has lost skipper Robbie Weir, after the former Burton Albion man was ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury after being stretchered off at Exeter City at the start of the month.

With fellow midfielder and vice skipper Liam Kelly, signed in the summer from Oldham, also out of action since October with a hamstring injury, it has proved to be a baptism of fire for the new Orient manager.

LAST MEETING: Mansfield Town 1, Leyton Orient 1 – Saturday, 12th December 2015

Mansfield Town again failed to win at home in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against both the elements and Leyton Orient in December 2015.

This was a game that was lucky to go ahead and even luckier to be finished as the woes of winter dominated at One Call Stadium.

A pre-match pitch inspection deemed the surface just about playable, despite hours of heavy rain. But that rain continued to fall throughout and players were further hampered by a strong, swirling wind.

However, a decent sized crowd for a Christmas shopping Saturday turned out so, despite the difficulty in trying to play anything resembling attractive football in those conditions, at least they got a game and, in the end, something to cheer. And it was again a game in which Stags proved they could match the top sides in the division, even if an elusive first win over a top 15 side again escaped them.

Click HERE to see video of Reggie Lambe’s goal in the game for Mansfield.

Click HERE to read a report on the game

TICKETS

Mansfield Town fans who purchase a ticket for the Stags’ home match against Leyton Orient on Saturday will receive a FREE match ticket for the Stags’ following home game against Hartlepool United (Saturday 11 February).

This superb offer applies to all age categories, as well as those who are in possession of a Quarry Lane Membership Card.

Fans can acquire their tickets by visiting the ticket office at One Call Stadium or via telephone: 01623 482 482 (Option 1). Please note that this special offer cannot be purchased online.

Supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets as early as possible, however, tickets can be bought on the day of the Leyton Orient match from the ticket office.

The ticket office is open from 10am until 5pm from Monday to Friday or 10am until kick-off on a home matchday, re-opening at full-time until 5.15pm.

Meanwhile, in a bonus for season ticket holders, a FREE bottle of coke zero or bottle of Carlsberg can obtained from any matchday kiosk, when a voucher is pre-obtained at the club’s ticket office, (available for Leyton Orient game only).

Don’t forget to read the match report at www.chad.co.uk after the game.

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