Preview: Oxford United vs. Leyton Orient – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League One clash between Oxford United and Leyton Orient, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Oxford United will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to seven league games when they host Leyton Orient in League One on Saturday.

The visitors, meanwhile, suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Burton Albion last time out to lose ground on the playoff spots.

Match preview

© Reuters

Having narrowly avoided relegation last season, Oxford Utd have bounced back strongly this time around to find themselves in the playoff positions in the table ahead of hosting Leyton Orient on Saturday.

The Yellows made it six games unbeaten when drawing 2-2 against Northampton Town on Tuesday evening, but they were left frustrated by Tony Springett‘s injury-time equaliser for the visitors. Will Goodwin had appeared to have given his side all three points when scoring nine minutes from the end of time, after Josh Murphy and Will Hondermarck exchanged strikes in the first half.

Although Oxford are unbeaten in their last six games, five of those matches have ended as draws, and they had lost successive matches prior to their recent unbeaten run. As such, that positive could easily be flipped into a negative, as they have only won one of their last eight games.

Des Buckingham‘s side have also played more games than any of the chasing pack beneath them in the table, which includes their forthcoming opponents. Those home fans in attendance at Kassam Stadium will desperately be hoping to see their side return to victorious ways this weekend.

Leyton Orient manager Richie Wellens before the match on April 18, 2023© Reuters

Indeed, Leyton Orient have performed above expectations after winning League Two last season, with Richie Wellens’s side having outside hopes of finishing inside the top six.

This is the O’s first campaign in England’s third tier since being relegated in 2015, which was compounded by falling outside of the EFL altogether two years later. However, Wellens has worked wonders since taking over in March 2022, winning 48 of his 103 matches in charge in all competitions.

Only promotion-chasing sides Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley had beaten Leyton Orient across their previous 15 games ahead of hosting Burton last time out, making their defeat all the more damaging. George Moncur had converted a penalty to hand the hosts a lead at half time, but late strikes from Mason Bennett and Aristote Nsiala turned the match on its head.

That loss leaves them nine points behind fifth-placed Oxford with a game in hand, meaning that if they can spring an upset on Saturday, the playoff race could be blown wide open for them and the other teams hoping to be involved beyond the end of the regular season.

Oxford United League One form:

Leyton Orient League One form:

Team News

Leyton Orient's Omar Beckles is shown a red card by referee Carl Brook on April 18, 2023© Reuters

Oxford are expected to remain without attacking midfielders Kyle Edwards and Marcus Browne, who are both working their way back to full fitness from long-term injuries.

Elliott Moore has missed his side’s last two matches and is therefore unlikely to be named among the starting XI, but he could be involved in the matchday squad.

January signing Goodwin has come off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last two matches and will be hoping to earn his first start for the club after scoring last time out, but he may have to remain patient for the time being.

Leyton Orient, meanwhile, have been without Jordan Graham and Daniel Happe in recent matches, with neither player likely to recover in time to feature on Saturday.

Despite scoring twice off the bench against Northampton in their previous game, Ruel Sotiriou was surprisingly left out of the starting XI once again versus Burton, but Wellens may throw the striker in from the outset after suffering defeat in that match.

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Cumming; Long, Negru, Brown, Bennett; Brannagan, Matete; Bodin, Rodrigues, Murphy; Harris

Leyton Orient possible starting lineup:
Brynn; Galbraith, Beckles, Cooper, Hunt; Pratley, El Mizouni; O’Neill, Moncur, Sotiriou; Edwards

SM words green background

We say: Oxford United 1-1 Leyton Orient

Although Oxford have proven tough to beat in recent weeks, they are also finding it difficult to win matches. Leyton Orient are still pushing to finish inside the top six, even if their chances appear slim after losing to Burton last weekend.

Oxford should have enough quality to maintain their unbeaten run, but we think that they may have to settle for a point once again, potentially allowing the likes of Stevenage and Blackpool to close the gap on them.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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