the daggers voice
From the English Riviera to the English Channel, Daggers are on their road for their second away trip in four games at Crabble tonight. While Dover Athletic will undoubtedly be a much tougher preposition than Torquay were, if Daggers can match the passion and resilience shown at Plainmoor then they stand a good chance of returning to Victoria Road with at least a point.
As things remain unstable off the pitch it is a relief that Dagenham have at least managed to find some form on it in recent weeks with two impressive performances. We managed to match Aldershot last week yet were just lacking that bit of quality, but the most important thing was that the players gave their all. This was brilliantly followed up by a thoroughly-deserved 3-0 victory at Torquay, which I expect we are still on a high from.
Therefore despite what's been happening behind the scenes there is still every cause to be optimistic and confident tonight. Although we've lost a huge core of our squad the players that have come in have taken their chance excellently and proven why they deserve to be at this club. Another positive is that we have so far managed to keep hold of Okenabirhie and Cheek who remain, on their day, two of the best players in the division.
Fejiri in particular showed that at Torquay with a superb individual performance resulting in two goals, but while he was the stand out player everybody was excellent all over the pitch. It is for that reason why John Still may be tempted to name an unchanged team at Crabble, even though he can now call on the services of Michael Cheek again, who has decided to stay with the club among offers from other teams. Another reason to be delighted at the minute.
The togetherness of the squad in recent weeks has been superb and while our situation has been devastating at least it has seemingly brought the squad together. We may have lost some of our best players but we now have a small, tight-knit squad and that may serve us well for the end of the season. Plus, and I know this is beyond hopeful, but we're still not out of the play-off race; four points adrift of 7th but with a game in hand, in addition to matches against relegation strugglers Chester and Guiseley in the next fortnight, both must wins.
However we can't look that far ahead and must take every game at a time. There's no point being rejuvenated after that Torquay performance unless it becomes a platform from which to build on. Dover Athletic always seem to defy the odds, regardless of how many players they lose. The loss of Ricky Miller among other big faces hit them hard in the Summer but they still rebuilt well enough to sustain another play-off push under the experienced and successful guidance of Chris Kinnear, one of the most respected managers in the NL.
They arrive in poor form following two straight defeats and will be wanting to put that right tonight. In addition to this, they have never beaten Dagenham so while that gives us a slight physiological edge perhaps it also acts as a good incentive for the home team to break that record. This includes the double we done over them last season and of course November's 1-0 victory which was one of the best performances of the season.
It has all the ingredients of an entertaining clash which both teams will desperately want to win. Hopefully the Daggers can bring a healthy number of fans and build on their new found confidence with another display of fearlessness and determination.
UPDATE: Since this was posted Dover have confirmed the loan capture of Kevin Lokko, who is in contention to feature against us. He will certainly bolster their defence yet we will know his weaknesses so that is perhaps something to be exploited.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.