Second-placed Stevenage travel to East London to face league leaders Leyton Orient in a crucial festive clash…
Seven points separate the sides as the top two prepare for battle live on Sky Sports at 12:30pm.
Boro have picked up forty-four points from twenty-one matches so far this season, meaning the side sit eight points from fourth place. Stevenage have had a two-week break from football so will be going into the game with fresh legs.
Leyton Orient have won sixteen from twenty-one league games, drawing three and losing just two. They are seven points clear of Stevenage in second and have won seven of their last eight league games. Last campaign, Orient finished thirteenth in Sky Bet League Two but have seemingly turned things around this season and dominated the division.
Orient’s last match before Christmas was at home to Sutton United as Richie Wellens’ side won 2-0 thanks to a goal from Paul Smyth and an own goal. Smyth is Orient’s top scorer this season with nine goals to his name.
Richie Wellens took over as the O’s boss in March 2022, just one week before Steve Evans joined Stevenage. At the time of Wellens’ appointment, Orient were sat 20th in Sky Bet League Two and just four points clear of safety. Wellens previously had managerial spells at Doncaster, Salford, Swindon and Oldham.
Boro and The O’s have met on nineteen occasions in the past, with Stevenage winning four and Orient winning nine. The first encounter dates back to 1996 where a non-league Boro knocked the Division 3 Leyton Orient out of The FA Cup at the Second Round. From 2011, the sides would meet regularly in League One then again in League Two when both clubs were relegated.
Stevenage’s only ever away victory over Leyton Orient came in 2011 as Lucas Akins grabbed the only goal of the game in East London. Home victories against Orient are also scarce for Boro, with the most recent one coming in 2017. Matt Godden, Ben Kennedy, Tom Pett and Luke Wilkinson contributed to a 4-1 win.
Neither side could pick up a victory over the other last season, with the fixture at The Lamex ending 0-0. Then, in March 2022, Boro travelled to East London for what appeared to be a relegation scrap at the time. Despite Luke Prosser’s header and a rocket from Luke Norris, the points were shared.
Leyton Orient have played their home fixtures at Brisbane Road since 1937. The stadium houses 9,271 supporters with a record attendance of 34,345 being set in 1964 when the neighbouring West Ham arrived for an FA Cup clash. Brisbane Road is in close proximity to both the Olympic Park and Hackney Marshes.
Charles Breakspear has been appointed as Match Referee for tomorrow’s fixture with Marc Wilson and Dean Treleaven as Assistants and Alan Young as Fourth Official. Breakspear’s last Boro fixture was the trip to Walsall which included Danny Rose’s 100th minute goal.