In just under four weeks’ time the National League champions will be crowned, and Leyton Orient are in the right place at the right time to claim their place back in the Football League.
After a difficult first season in non-league football, Orient have certainly come to terms with what’s needed to get out of the division this season and look on course for the title and also the Double, the FA Trophy final to come in mid-May.
The O’s have been in the promotion mix since the end of September and manager Justin Edinburgh has maintained his side’s performance level in what is one of the toughest leagues to get out of. Despite an indifferent December and January, Edinburgh has steered the side to the top of the table a point clear with two games in hand on those around them, most would say this is their title to lose if those games are won.
With only two defeats in their last ten games, they are very much one of the form sides in the division, built around 21 goals from Macauley Bonne and a miserly defence conceding only 28 goals so far. Having a squad of players with either Football League experience or having won this league before certainly gives Orient the edge in the run-in, but this doesn’t mean it’s a certainty the title is heading to East London.
They still have to face Harrogate Town and Solihull Moors over the Easter period, the latter still with designs on the title themselves. Should Orient win those two games in hand, they should have a sufficient gap to leave the rest fighting for play-off places.
If the O’s are to return to the Football League, it would represent a huge achievement given the poor mis-management of the club which resulted in their relegation.
Under previous owner Francesco Becchetti, the club lurched from one disaster to another, but now with more stable footings in the boardroom this has translated onto the pitch and the terraces. Their long-suffering supporters deserve the success and with the Trophy final in six weeks’ time those fans might be revelling in a double celebration.
Given the fact it can sometimes take years to regain Football League status, if Orient do end the season as champions it can’t be underestimated the achievement to make it happen in such a short space of time, but Edinburgh knows the planning begins as soon as the final whistle blows on the season, Orient won’t want to rest on their laurels.
Lincoln City have shown how the momentum of a title win can be a great catalyst, winning the Double might just be the spark for further Orient success.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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