JABO IBEHRE returns to boyhood club Leyton Orient tonight hoping to complete an unusual footballing hat-trick as Barnsley manager Lee Johnson plans to freshen up a side looking for a seventh successive victory.
Colchester forward Ibehre’s first match on loan for the Reds was against a Walsall side he featured for in 2008-09 and his second game was from off the bench at Oldham on Saturday, having played on loan for the Latics earlier this season.
Now, the Islington-born Arsenal fan hopes to get the nod to start against the club with which he began his career and for whom he made over 200 appearances from 2000 to 2008.
In spite of making it six wins in a row to move into the top six with a 3-1 victory against his former club Oldham, Johnson detected signs of fatigue at Boundary Park and will not be afraid to make changes tonight.
It is an encounter he considers to be their “toughest game” against the fourth-bottom side, for whom former Reds striker Chris Dagnall was on target in a 3-0 win against basement club Yeovil on Saturday.
Johnson made just one change at Oldham, bringing in Cardiff full-back Declan John for his debut, but says: “I had 26 fit outfield players and it’s difficult (selection), although it’s also a brilliant thing and I’m not complaining.
“Having such a strong bench is probably the difference between the sides that are in mid-table and the sides that are up there.
“It’s brilliant being in the top six, but at the end of the day we have to keep up that momentum and keep progressing up the league.
“Listen, we are going to lose before the end of the season, there is no doubt about that. We have already talked about how we are going to bounce back if that does happen.
“We have been solid and limited good teams to very few chances, but we do need a bit more quality in our attacking play. On Saturday, it was a bit off. A few players looked a bit leggy and we will maybe have to freshen things up, which is fair with the squad we have got.”
Last six matches: Leyton Orient LWWLLW, Barnsley WWWWWW.
Referee: G Ward (Surrey).
Last time: Leyton Orient 1 Barnsley 3; January 23, 1982; Division Two.