the daggers voice
Two wins and a draw from a challenging opening three games has left the Daggers unbeaten in the league. It may only be very early days, but it's a very positive start for Still and his team.
Corey Whitely has, as always, been in typically-unstoppable form and he leads the National League goalscoring charts with four strikes already. He has forged brilliant chemistry with fellow attackers Fejiri Okenabirhie and Morgan Ferrier.
With the pace of Fejiri, the strength of Morgan Ferrier and the all-round brilliance of Corey Whitely, it will be hard to find a better attack at the moment than the one we boast, which has found the net six times so far this campaign, at an average of 2 per game. Add to this the clinical poaching of Michael Cheek and, when called upon, the talismanic prowess of Oliver Hawkins, and you can see why we were second favourites to go up as Champions.
Such is our attacking ability that Oliver Hawkins, who attracted plenty of attention in the Summer, has been limited to few appearances. I think that sometimes people forget the contribution that Hawks' made last season; his goals throughout the season were vital and alone earned a total of nine points - the difference between finishing 4th and 7th. Without him, we wouldn't have made the playoffs.
I have no doubt that, once he regains his form, he will score many goals this season, especially as we are likely to create more chances. What you need to remember with Hawkins is that he is still only twenty-five and in his second year at this level. Higher clubs were not sniffing around for no reason.
Yet I've read comments on Views from the Sieve (the online forum) even going as far as saying Hawkins is rubbish. Assuming these are serious, which I simply can't comprehend if they are, then I advise these people take up another sport. I admit that the hype-train did gather excessive steam, but he is a very clever footballer. He used his height brilliantly to hold up the ball and provided a huge outlet with his aerial presence. The fact that he only made the bench for two games shows how strong our squad depth is.
One player who can't be praised highly enough, especially by me, is Corey Whitely. In my opinion, Corey is going a long way to becoming a club legend and he was a joy to watch last campaign. The fans adore him and he was the only Dagger named in the Team of the Season for 2016/17 (though I believe more should've been included). Considering that he's not even a striker, his 0.4 goals per game output is tremendous. He will be our main man, and I hope no bigger club realises his talents come January.
So far, Morgan Ferrier has also been fantastic, though hasn't has a goal to justify his efforts. Much like Hawkins, he is brilliant at holding the ball up and he has already caused havoc with his strength and runs into the box. As mentioned, him and Okenabirhie have linked up well together and he is also one who impressed in 16/17, though unfortunately injuries hampered his progress.
We have no problems in the attack department, but the defence is a different story. Scott Doe is still injured and frustratingly suffered a recurrence recently which will keep him out for longer. Lokko is showing promise but needs to find his feet, and once he finds them, try and control them from tripping attackers up in the box to concede costly penalties. He was highly rated at Maidstone, so could establish himself as a key defender for us.
Losing Widdowson and Staunton, plus Robson pushing up to midfield, means that defence is a problematic area which is really suffering from a lack of pace. Hopefully this is rectified soon, as it will lead to some nervous matches in the future.
But, considering the teams we've played, it couldn't have gone much better. With seven points, we have technically made a better start than last campaign. Our opening three games then only saw us take six points - not too shabby still - but when you consider that we faced Southport, Chester and Guiseley, who would all finish in the bottom six, all of a sudden our start to the current season looks even better.
But, ultimately, it is only three games, and only time will tell whether we can maintain our positive start. But the early signs show promise, I must say.
Come on you Daggers!
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.