Wellens hits out at the schedule after Leyton Orient and Cobblers suffer injuries in table-topping showdown

Three players were forced off before half-time with muscle injuries
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Richie Wellens has been critical of the busy festive schedule after both Leyton Orient and the Cobblers suffered injuries during Monday’s top-of-the-table clash at Sixfields.

The league leaders were first to suffer when defender Dan Happe limped off before he was followed by Northampton pair Tyler Magloire and Shaun McWilliams, both of whom sustained hamstring injuries.

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All three players came off before half-time and the problems didn’t end there for Wellens, who revealed Shadrach Ogie was also struggling towards the end. To make matters worse, Omar Beckles faces a three-game ban after receiving a straight red card for stamping on Jon Guthrie in stoppage-time.

Richie WellensRichie Wellens
Richie Wellens

Paul Smyth, Orient’s best player and one of the division’s standout performers this season, remained an unused substitute for the second game in a row as he too tries to overcome injury.

Wellens said: "We thought Paul might be able to give us 20, 25 minutes but he felt it in the warm-up again. He has been fine in terms of the limited training he has done but in the last two or three days we have picked up injuries.

"They had two injuries in the first-half and we had one. It's the schedule. We have just played three games in six days and now we don't have a midweek game for four or five weeks. We can't we move one of those games?

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"It puts players in a vulnerable position. People will probably go 'oh Wellens is moaning' but it's not just me. Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and all the top managers have said the same thing because we are putting players at a bigger risk.

"It's no coincidence that we have seen four or five injuries today and unfortunately for us, we don't have the same type of quality that Pep and Klopp have in their squads.

"We need to get the chequebook out and invest this month. We have no centre-back for the next game and Shadrach also felt his hamstring in the last five minutes so he'll need to go for a scan as well."