the daggers voice
Pre-Season begins at the Eyrie
Fresh from a challenging training camp in Portugal, Dagenham & Redbridge face their first pre-season friendly of the Summer at the Eyrie Stadium.
John Still takes his side to Bedford Town of the Southern League Central and will certainly be looking for a positive display as he looks to take last season's play-off semi-finalists a step further this term.
Since that 2-0 defeat to now-Football League outfit Forest Green Rovers, there have been 69 days and several changes around the squad, with these friendlies giving the new players the perfect chance to gel, bond and develop team chemistry before the real stuff begins on August 5th.
Ultimately, though, that is all what pre-season is about: fitness and preparation. A chance to watch a laid-back, relaxed match with the result proving to be meaningless. It's when the players have to put in all the hard work ahead of a new campaign but, on the other hand, it is extremely important.
It is vital that everybody is fit and raring to go come the end of pre-season, and hopefully by then players will start to develop and understand each other's strengths. Everybody needs to be pulling in the right direction, and need to be on the same wavelength. Thankfully, last year, pre-season couldn't have gone better.
A practically new squad managed to gel perfectly and find their rhythm from the get-go. This, I believe, was the key to our success because, by the time the Southport season opener came around, our players were ready. I also believe there was an evident contrast in fitness levels, so it is clear to see why the club have been working so hard out in Portugal.
And so, here we go, technically the start of 2017/18. Nine long months all starts tomorrow. The tedious, non-football spell is over, and pre-season is here. It begins at the Eyrie Stadium.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.