Following Sunday’s FA Cup defeat at Chesterfield, the Blues have a quick turnaround and are back on the road just 2 days later. The EFL Trophy is the focus now, with a place in the knockout stages up for grabs.
Pompey have 5 points on the board and sit top of Group E of the Southern Section, following a 3-3 draw and a penalty shoot-out victory over the Fulham Under-21s in their opening Group Stage fixture, which was followed by a 5-1 thrashing of Gillingham at Fratton Park in October.
All that is required for the Blues to guarantee their progression to the next stage is 1 more point, which they’ll be hoping to get over the line when they take on Leyton Orient under the floodlights of Brisbane Road.
43-year-old Richie Wellens is currently manager of Leyton Orient.
Wellens, who featured for the likes of Blackpool, Leicester City and Doncaster Rovers during a playing career spanning 18 years, moved into management in 2017 after retiring at Macclesfield earlier that same year.
Oldham Athletic were the first club to hand Wellens an opportunity in the dugout, however wielded the axe following the conclusion of his first and only season with The Latics.
During the summer of 2018, following his dismissal at Boundary Park, Wellens was appointed as manager of League Two outfit Swindon Town, who he managed to win promotion with during his 2nd season in charge, which was decided on points per game due to the curtailment of English league football thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Wellens has also previously taken charge of Salford City, winning The Ammies the postponed EFL Trophy in 2021, where they beat Pompey on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley.
Before taking charge of Leyton Orient in March 2022, Wellens had a short spell at former club Doncaster, where he was dismissed after just 199 days.
Wellens added a 2nd promotion as champions of League Two on to his CV when he took Leyton Orient to win the title after a 2-0 home win over Crewe Alexandra on April the 22nd - His side would go on to accrue 91 points in total come the end of the campaign.
ONE TO WATCH
Northern Irish midfielder Ethan Galbraith is one to look out for in this one.
Galbraith, who is 22 years of age, has asserted himself as a regular in Richie Wellens’ side this season and has 1 EFL Trophy to his name thus far, as well as scoring a penalty in the shoot-out with Fulham’s Under-21s at Brisbane Road in the club’s previous match in this competition.
The former Manchester United player will be the one wearing the number 22 shirt in red.
With 5 league goals to his name at this stage of the season, Cypriot striker Ruel Sotiriou is the club’s leading scorer.
The 23-year-old was born relatively nearby to Leyton Orient in the London borough of Enfield and has been with The O’s since his childhood, turning pro in 2017.
Sotiriou’s last goal came in Orient’s most recent fixture, scoring at home to Carlisle United in The FA Cup on Saturday.
The forward, who wears the number 10 shirt for the club, has only featured in 31 minutes of the club’s EFL Trophy adventure this season and has not yet scored in the competition.
Leyton Orient are unbeaten in their last 6 matches across all competitions.
The O’s were victorious in their FA Cup First Round tie on Saturday, defeating Carlisle United by 3 goals to 1 on home soil - Their reward for that win is a trip to Chesterfield in Round 2, the side who of course dumped Pompey out of the competition on Sunday.
In League One, Richie Wellens’ side occupy 14th position after an accumulation of 20 points from their opening 15 games - 6 points off the Play-Off places and also 6 clear of the relegation zone.
In the EFL Trophy this season, Orient suffered a 2-1 defeat away at Gillingham in their opening Group Stage match, before drawing 2-2 with the Fulham Under-21s on September the 19th, picking up the bonus point after winning the penalty shoot-out.
They are currently rock bottom of the group, though just 1 point stands in the way of them and 2nd-placed Gillingham.
Can the Blues secure progression to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy, or will they be dumped out of a 2nd competition in the space of just 3 days?
Tune in to 93.7 Express FM, DAB Digital Radio, Online or iFollow from 7pm this evening (November 7th) to catch all of the unmissable action as Pompey take on Leyton Orient away from home in the EFL Trophy.