the daggers voice
Following on from last weekend's morale-boosting performance, the Daggers are back in action as they embark on the long trip South-West to face a steadily-improving Torquay United outfit who are making huge strides towards safety under manager Gary Owers. Regardless of the result they will at least be hoping that this match will go ahead after their last scheduled away trip at Halifax was called off at 1.45pm.
Both teams enter this match in varying form with Dagenham's four consecutive losses contrasted to Torquay's run of three games unbeaten - their best sequence of the season. Impressive wins against Barrow and Maidenhead recently followed an excellent draw at league leaders Macclesfield Town. Although they have struggled this season, they will be hugely confident and optimistic ahead of the fixture.
One of the main factors of their sudden upturn in form lies in striker Elliott Romain, who of course is on loan from Dagenham. He has always seemed like a hard worker but lacked an end product which he seems to have discovered at the Gulls. According to a local newspaper, Torquay are in talks to turn his loan move into a permanent deal.
Such is the nature of the league that every game is tough and there aren't many easy matches, which we've seen when playing struggling outfits such as Solihull and Guiseley this campaign, and this will also apply to our home clash with Chester next weekend. With Torquay embroiled in a relegation scrap, every point counts and three this weekend would certainly do their survival bid.
The Daggers, though, will be in no mood to show empathy. A dreadful few weeks for the club have seen six players depart, with the losses of Ling and Ferrier having the biggest impact. However, just as the club were surely preparing for this game they have also lost Corey Whitely to Ebbsfleet, and may even suffer more player departures before kick-off on Saturday.
That said, we still have a team capable of competing and are not totally bereft of quality. Providing they are still here for this fixture, Sparkes and Okenabirhie can cause Torquay's defence many problems and link up well with Cheek, who is one of the league's best strikers in terms of natural goalscoring ability. Therefore things aren't all bleak and we will be looking to build on the Aldershot performance with a win that would lighten the mood of a club in disarray.
Hopefully our current financial plight will provide the perfect incentive for us to give the fans something to cheer about this weekend. It would be nice if we could a healthy amount of supporters heading down to Devon and we can earn our first away victory of the year. Obviously this is a time where the team needs as much support as can be mustered yet it could be perfectly understandable if people stay away given our various issues both o and off the pitch.
Luckily, just as was the case at Victoria Road on Saturday, this will only revolve around what happens on the Plainmoor surface; it is a welcome distraction and irrespective of the result I'd rather be talking about a defeat on the pitch than what's been happening off it. As long as the players give their all, which Dagenham players traditionally do, then that's all we can ask for.
It should be a tight encounter, especially as Torquay usually have the edge over the Daggers. In 2013, they were bottom of League 2 but still nicked a 1-0 victory at Victoria Road which practically derailed our play-off push. Last season they repeated the feat with two 1-0 wins in a time where Dagenham had bad injury problem, with both games taking place on a Tuesday.
Thankfully though we managed to end the streak back in September against the Gulls, who deserved to win. In the end Torquay showed just why they're struggling with several barely-believable misses. In the end we scored through a last-minute penalty from Fejiri Okenabirhie, who can hopefully emulate that sort of composure when the two sides reconvene.
So while things remain very uncertain off the pitch it is time for the boys to show their resilience on it. Torquay will be a tough side but let's remember they;re in the bottom four for a reason and if we show our quality I'm sure we can earn a victory which will bring a smile to fans' faces.
I am Joel Page, Dagenham & Redbridge FC fan. Here I will share some of my experiences.