the daggers voice
The days are getting shorter and the nights are shorter; for the Daggers, as we hurtle towards Winter, this means we enter a month that has typically proved impossible to negotiate in the past. November: it very nearly destroyed our season last year, so how will we fare this time out...
Consistently inconsistent, our form has fluctuated dramatically since the campaign began. A scintillating, unbeaten August left us top of the table having scored considerably more than any other club, but it wasn't a sign of things to come. September was a mixed bag, before the true blip followed last month. Just two goals in seven outings was a far cry from what was expected and, for many, was a reality check.
Add to this a cup defeat against that lot up the road and you have a month to forget. It wasn't all bad of course; we earned a great win against Macclesfield and good points at Maidenhead and Aldershot, but safe to say we will all be hoping for a better month ahead.
What makes things promising - though - is that, even after what should go down as our most underperforming month of the season, we are still within five points off top spot. No team is running away with this division, so imagine where we could be after a good month.
And so we come to November. Dagenham have always seemed to struggle in the build-up to Christmas and last year was no different, as we encountered a huge spell of injuries. We were beaten by struggling Torquay (0-1), battered by Barrow (1-4) and suffered an FA Cup exit at the hands of Halifax, then of the division below. And let's not even mention 'that' Gateshead game. This left us on a potentially slippery slope and, even though we eventually turned things around, we fell away from top spot and never managed to catch up.
So that's how important one month can be and, after a week's break from competitive action, the team should be raring to go for Saturday's clash at Tranmere. After a disastrous start, the pre-season promotion favourites have recovered well and are in the best form they could be in. When you also consider a televised FA Cup replay against Peterborough on the horizon, they will be full of confidence and could easily punish us.
We will also be looking to prove a point in this match. Our away form, which was ranked 1st last season, has taken a depressing turn. The last time we won on the road was in the second game of the season, and since then we've been alternating between losses and draws away from home. Already this season we've dropped 18 points on our travels - which is just eight fewer than the WHOLE of last year.
So therefore, a long journey to a daunting stadium in front of a large crowd is probably not the most ideal place to put to bed our poor away form. But a win at Prenton Park would be a real statement and dare I say a sign of future champions, but the question is......can we handle the pressure?
So, come on boys, go for it. If the last month has taught us anything it should be to not be afraid to go for goal, so if we play to our strengths then I see no reason why we can't triumph. I can't think of a better attack than ours and we're supposed to be a great side, let's bloody prove it!
Come on you beautiful, mighty Daggers x
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.