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Opposition Lowdown: Richie Wellens’ In-Form Leyton Orient

Reading will be looking to secure their second home win of the week when they take on Leyton Orient at the SCL Stadium. Join us as we take a closer look at the opposition.

Leyton Orient v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Gaughan Group Stadium Photo by Ben Whitley/PA Images via Getty Images


Orient secured promotion back to League One last season after finishing as champions of League Two, six points clear of runners-up Stevenage. They last played third-tier football in the 2014/15 season and actually dropped out of the Football League in 2017. They spent four seasons in League Two following promotion back to the Football League in 2019.

The Os have had a good first half of the season, as they currently sit 10th in the league following 10 wins, eight draws and nine losses. They are currently one of the top form sides in the division and are unbeaten in their last five league games, following four wins and one draw.

They come into Saturday’s game off the back of a 1-0 home win against high-flying Bolton Wanderers. The two sides faced each other back in October, when Orient claimed a 2-1 victory at Brisbane Road, with George Moncur scoring a 90th-minute winner.

The boss

Richie Wellens: Wellens was appointed Orient manager in March 2022, taking over from Kenny Jackett who was sacked after nine months in charge. Wellens was a midfielder during his playing career, having come through the Manchester United academy. He played for the likes of Blackpool, Leicester City and Doncaster Rovers over the course of an 18-year professional career.

He started his coaching career in 2017, beginning at Oldham Athletic where he was then appointed manager. His next managerial role came at Swindon Town, where he secured promotion to League One after the season was cut short due to Covid-19.

A four-month spell at Salford followed in 2020, after which he joined former club Doncaster in 2021, where he lasted six months. Wellens secured promotion in his first full season at Leyton Orient, winning the League Two title and the manager of the season award.

The 43-year-old likes his teams to play attacking football, seeing Sir Alex Ferguson as one of his greatest inspirations. However he won’t be in the dugout for this weekend’s clash, following a red card in the midweek game against Bolton.


Orient have boosted their squad this transfer window with the permanent signings of defender Brandon Cooper and winger Ollie O’Neill, who joined from Swansea City and Fulham respectively.

Expected lineup

Brynn, Galbraith, Cooper, Happe, Sweeney, Brown, El Mizouni, Forde, Sanders, Archibald, Agyei

Key player

Theo Archibald: Winger Archibald joined Orient on a permanent deal in June 2022, following a successful spell on loan from Lincoln City. The Scotsman came through the youth ranks at Celtic, but never made a first-team appearance for the club.

He joined Brentford on a permanent deal in 2017 and spent time on loan at Forest Green Rovers during his time in West London. A move to Macclesfield Town followed in 2019 before he signed for Lincoln City a year later.

Archibald joined Orient on loan for the 2021/22 season and made 42 appearances for the Os, scoring eight goals. He has gone on to make over 100 appearances for Orient and has played a part in all but one of their league games so far this season.

The 25-year-old has represented Scotland at under-16, under-19 and under-21 level. Archibald usually plays on the left wing and has strong passing skills, favouring through balls.

One to watch

Idris El Mizouni: Midfielder El Mizouni joined Leyton Orient on a season-long loan from Championship Ipswich Town this summer. He is a product of the Ipswich academy and made his debut for the club in 2019.

He has had a number of loans while at the club, having had two spells at Cambridge United and one at Grimsby Town. El Mizouni is now in his second consecutive season-long loan with Orient and has represented the club 76 times, scoring four goals.

He has played a part in all of Orient’s league games so far this season and has captained the side on a number of occasions. The 23-year-old also has one cap for the Tunisian national team, making his debut in 2019.

El Mizouni is a centre midfielder with strong passing skills, who likes to shoot from distance.