Can the Daggers stave off a relegation threat again?
We take a closer look at Dagenham & Redbridge in our next preview. To find out when we face the Daggers, visit the official site on June 19th.
Having only been formed in 1992, following a merge between Dagenham FC and Redbridge Forest FC, the rise of the Daggers has been quite remarkable. After a number of years in the Ryman Premier Division, Dagenham won promotion to the Blue Square Premier in the 2000/01 season. The Daggers earned promotion to the Football League in 2006/07 under the leadership of John Still. The east Londoners established themselves as a decent League 2 club before surpassing everyone’s expectations by reaching the play-offs that season. Still’s side thrashed Morecambe 6-0 in the first leg, before heading north to take on the Shrimps, losing 2-1. The Final at Wembley saw the club face Rotherham United. The Daggers took the lead through Paul Benson before being pegged back after a Ryan Taylor equaliser. Dagenham added a second and the Millers equalised again, before John Nurse netted the winner 20 minutes from time. Dagenham spent a solitary season in League 1, prior to being relegated in May 2011.
Wayne Burnett is in his first Football League job in a managerial capacity. The 41 year-old has previously been a manager in non-league with the likes of Dulwich Hamlet, Fisher Athletic (twice) and Grays Athletic. As a player, Burnett represented clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Huddersfield Town and Grimsby Town, after starting his career at Leyton Orient. Burnett was appointed the Dagenham caretaker manager in February 2013 following John Still’s departure. On keeping the Daggers in League 2, Burnett was appointed on a permanent basis at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
In goal for the Daggers in 2013/14 will be 24 year-old Chris Lewington. Lewington, who has been with the club since 2009, has previously spent time at Dulwich Hamlet, Leatherhead and Sittingbourne. Made 45 appearances last term in all competitions. The Dagenham defence will consist of the likes of Abu Ogogo, Luke Wilkinson, former Swindon Town youth graduate, Scott Doe, and 22 year-old left back, Femi Ilesanmi. Former Colchester United winger Medy Elito should play his part under Burnett next season, along with ex-Fulham midfielder, Matthew Saunders. Up front, Josh Scott will look to score the goals to make sure his side don’t get dragged into the lower echelons of League 2, after a disappointing campaign last time around.
Striker, Brian Woodall, will hope to improve on his two goals for the Daggers last season. The 25 year-old, who signed from non-league Gresley in 2011, could be rejuvenated after a loan spell with Bishops Stortford at the back end of 2012/13, scoring six goals in 11 games.
The Daggers had a disappointing campaign last season and eventually survived the drop on the final day, staying up on goal difference. The club had to deal with John Still departing to join non-league Luton Town as manager, and despite losing the last three games of the campaign, survived in a frantic last day that saw Barnet fall through the trapdoor into the Blue Square Premier.
Wayne Burnett released six players in early May. Striker Sam Williams was let go; along with former Blues man Kevin Maher. The experienced Jonathan Fortune and Ben Strevens also were released. As of yet, no new signings have been made, as Burnett looks to improve on last season.
BLUES v DAGENHAM:
Home: Blues 3-1 Dagenham
Blues raced into a 2-0 lead, through a Britt Assombalonga double, after Daggers’ Luke Wilkinson received an early red card. However, Dwight Gayle pulled one back for the visitors on the stroke of half time. After the interval, Ryan Cresswell added a third to make the game safe for Blues.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Cresswell, Phillips, Barker, Timlin, Martin (Straker, 68), Hurst, Spicer, Assombalonga (Harris, 86), Tomlin (Benyon, 90)
Unused: Belford, Woodyard, Njie
Away: Dagenham 0-3 Blues
Blues completed the double over Dagenham in east London. Once again, Blues grabbed two early goals through Gavin Tomlin in the 1st and 14th minute. Kevan Hurst sealed a comfortable victory with a cracker, after the half time break.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker, Mkandawire, Timlin, Hurst, Laird, Assombalonga (Corr, 79), Tomlin (Eastwood, 85)
Unused: Bentley, Straker, Phillips, Martin, Donnelly
Dagenham & Redbridge are 16/1 to achieve promotion this coming season.