THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Leyton Orient v Brentford, 7.45pm

icon beesleyton13 September ~ Televised League One football on a Thursday night is Sky's latest innovation this season. Tonight, viewers get to watch Brentford's visit to Leyton Orient. Brentford fans were looking forward to the season with a considerable degree of optimism. One by one Uwe Rösler's transfer targets arrived at the club leaving the squad looking stronger than anyone can remember. Strikers Charlie McDonald and Gary Alexander have been replaced by Farid El Alagui, with 18 goals for Falkirk last year, and the experienced Paul Hayes from Charlton.

Last season's successful loanees, Harlee Dean from Southampton and Everton's Adam Forshaw have been signed. The excellent left-back Jake Bidwell has also returned for another loan spell from the Toffees.

The arrival of the experienced Tony Craig and Scott Barron from Millwall means that, on paper, Brentford have a squad that is capable of challenging for a promotion place. In addition, Rösler's insistence on playing a passing game has been a welcome change for the Griffin Park faithful accustomed to a more direct style over the last 20 years.

The start to the season has been mixed. There was a 3-1 home defeat to Yeovil – at 1-1 substitute Hayes missed a penalty with his first kick in a Brentford shirt – and below par performances in away draws at Bury and Walsall, where two late goals rescued a point. Only in the 5-1 thrashing of Crewe has the team really showed how well they can play.

Saturday's last gasp 1-0 win over Colchester was a reward for 22 attempts on goal. The patience of the crowd as chance after chance was squandered was encouraging but the lack of clinical finishing is a worry. Clayton Donaldson seems to convert about one in six or seven of his chances. Hopefully the four he missed on Saturday will count towards the Orient game. Nonetheless, Donaldson is League One's leading scorer and with El Alagui close behind: there is the potential for goals.

Brentford's recent record at Leyton Orient is poor. With three defeats and three dire performances in the last three seasons, and with Orient fresh from an impressive win at Swindon on Saturday, Brentford fans will be anxious to see whether they can perform well away from home for the first time this season. At this early stage the reward for a positive result is a place in the play-off positions – a defeat and mid-table obscurity beckons. Chris Dean

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