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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Leaders Dover likely to add to Orient's continuing misery

Pools can close on playoff places with Shots success

Jake Cassidy, pictured in his Wolves days, is back up front for Hartlepool
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3pm Saturday

The gap in quality between Sky Bet League Two and the National League has reduced in recent times and there is a genuine danger that Leyton Orient could become the second team in 12 months to follow up relegation from the Football League with a bottom-four finish.

York, who dropped from the fourth tier to the sixth between 2015 and 2017, are the example Orient are desperate not to follow.

But the Londoners head into this weekend's match at home to leaders Dover in 19th place, only three points above the drop zone, under caretaker managers Ross Embleton and Dean Brill after Steve Davis was sacked on Tuesday.

Davis had been wrestling with a long injury list but could not have any real complaints after a miserable run which has seen Orient collect just three points from their last 11 games.

Long-suffering Orients fans have had to witness five successive home defeats and the visit of Dover – top of the table and unbeaten in nine – is unlikely to bring any relief.

Expert views

Michael Owen

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

There is a market expectation of immediate improvement from Orient, who are favourites to win the match.

But the value bet must be to side with Dover, who have taken 18 points from nine away games this season.

Hartlepool have responded much better to relegation from the Football League and can edge closer to the playoff places by beating Aldershot at Victoria Park.

Pools had a slow start but have lost just one of their last 13 league games and have been boosted by the recent recovery from injury of key striker Jake Cassidy.

Aldershot are two points better off but have lost their last two away matches (3-1 at Barrow and 5-0 at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup) and are without suspended midfielder Manny Oyeleke.

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Hartlepool have responded much better to relegation from the Football League
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