By Tony Leighton
Whether Leyton Orient win or lose the first leg of their Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Section Final against Southend United, manager Russell Slade will have a tale to tell his players of second leg possibilities as Wembley looms.
In his finest moment of what is now almost 20 years of management, Slade inspired Yeovil Town to one of the great second leg comebacks after a first leg home defeat had seemingly left his team with no chance of progressing.
In 2007's npower League 1 Play-Off Semi-Final against overwhelming favourites Nottingham Forest, the Glovers were beaten 2-0 at Huish Park but then at the City Ground destroyed the odds against them with a 5-2 win after extra time.
"For Yeovil to reach Wembley in those circumstances was an incredible achievement," Slade told football-league.co.uk. "That night at Forest was fantastic and I'll never forget it, even though we did then lose the Final to Blackpool.
"That tie against Forest will remind me that if we're fortunate enough to get a decent first leg lead against Southend, or even if we were to lose this home game, the tie will still be very much alive and winnable when we go to their place."
As the League 1 team Orient, five points below the Play-Off places and in fine form, should be favourites against a Southend team who are lying fifth in League 2 and pushing for promotion again after missing out in last season's Play-Offs.
But Slade said: "Southend will see themselves as a bigger club than Leyton Orient. They were in the Championship not so long ago and they're getting very reasonable attendances for the level they're playing at now.
"They are going very well in League 2 and there's no way we will underestimate them. The fact that it's a local derby adds a bit of spice to the tie, and we'll go into this first game looking to put ourselves into a good position for the away leg.
"We've been in decent form in the league [eight wins and only three defeats in the last 14 games], and now we're 180 minutes from Wembley. It would fantastic to get there - but we've got two tough games ahead of us."
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