Article by Mark Bravery
Three years ago Leyton Orient were a League One side while Sutton United were enduring an indifferent season three steps down in the National League South. Since then the fortunes of the two clubs have gone in such different directions that Sutton travel to Orient this Saturday (9 December) as National League leaders while their opponents sit just one place and three points above the relegation zone.
Sutton beat newly-relegated Orient 2-0 at home on the season's opening day in a game broadcast live on BT Sport, Dean Beckwith putting United ahead then fellow centre back Jamie Collins converting a penalty. Orient's results did subsequently improve, despite a 6-1 defeat at Bromley in mid-August, and a 4-1 home win over Guiseley on 2 September lifted them to 2nd in the table. But that was as good as it got, and they have since gone fifteen league games without a win. They now have the division's second-worst defensive record with 40 goals conceded.
This poor run of form saw the departure last month of head coach Steve Davis. His successor is former Tottenham defender Justin Edinburgh, who led the re-formed Newport County into the Football League in 2013 via the Conference play-offs, but who in August was dismissed by Northampton Town after a poor start to this season. His first game in charge of Orient was last weekend's 1-0 defeat at basement club Solihull Moors.
Sutton, who have lost just once in twelve league matches, welcomed back Craig Eastmond in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Eastleigh, while defenders Dean Beckwith and Aswad Thomas could both return to the squad this Saturday. Midfielder Kenny Davis is doubtful with a hamstring strain.
Orient will be without defenders Jake Caprice and Jamie Sendles-White as both are serving suspensions. Their leading marksman is Macauley Bonne, scorer of nine league goals, two ahead of Sutton's Craig Dundas.