Dagenham and Redbridge v Southend United…
Kevin Maher will take charge of his first Southend United match on Saturday afternoon with the short trip to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Blues will be looking to bounce back from their torrid run of form in the league after the announcement of club legend Maher as head coach, with Darren Currie as his assistant and former Southend midfielder Mark Bentley as first team coach.
The trio will be looking to bring the feel-good factor back to Roots Hall, and last weekend’s 4-1 victory over Chertsey Town in the FA Cup may be a platform that they can build from going into this weekend’s match.
But it will certainly be a baptism of fire for the new men in the dug-out, as the Daggers sit sixth in the table, having picked up 19 points from their opening 11 matches.
The two Essex-based sides have clashed plenty of times before, but this will be the first ever time they have met in the fifth tier.
You have to date back just 29 years to when Saturday’s opposition were formed as a club.
Several mergers took place, seeing Leytonstone, Ilford and Walthamstow Avenue form Redbridge Forest, which then merged with Dagenham FC to form Dagenham and Redbridge in 1992.
After a turbulent period off the pitch, the Daggers eventually reached the Football League in 2007.
Their climb up the leagues wasn’t done there, as they achieved promotion to League One in 2010, but they could not retain their place in the third tier for longer than a season.
And, highlighting the unforgiving nature of lower league football, John Still’s side were relegated yet again in the 15/16 campaign, slumping them back into the non-league scene where they have remained since.
Daryl McMahon is now the man in charge at the club, a well-travelled figure in the Football League and below, he has formed a team that can play attacking, attractive football which has so far hurt many teams in the National League.
The form guide doesn’t favour either side ahead of Saturday, as both have struggled in recent weeks.
Despite McMahon’s men making an incredible start to the 21/22 campaign, picking up 16 points from their first possible 18, they have lost four of their last five league matches and picked up just three points from their last five games.
The visitors’ poor form stretches a little further than five matches, as Blues have won just one of their last nine league games, however they will take confidence from their FA Cup triumph last weekend.
Goals have been hard to come by for The Shrimpers so far this season, their struggles have seen them become the second lowest scoring side in the division, so last weekend’s resounding victory will be a big confidence booster for Maher’s side.
From The Boss:
"I just want to take the fear away from them,” said Maher.
"I know they’ve had a tough time recently and results haven’t been great but I want them to go on the pitch and enjoy their football and get a smile on their face.
"There’s principles we want [to implement], with and without the ball.
"Depending on the game and the opponents, there will be some principles that we always want that will be a constant throughout our time here.
"We’re still managing one or two that aren’t on the grass yet, so to get too much detail [into the players] – we’ve done a little bit – but there’s still a long way to go.
"They’ve [Dagenham and Redbridge] been watched. We know a bit about them already, myself Darren and Mark, so we will have a rough idea of what they will do.
"They’re a good side, a solid outfit and I know Darryl well so they will be well up for this."
Blues’ Team News:
"There are still one or two injury concerns. We will give them every chance and have a look tomorrow before deciding the best way to go. Hopefully one or two will be back," said Maher.
Gary Parsons will be calling the shots when The Blues head to the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Parsons has taken charge of seven National League games so far this season and has not shied away from issuing his cards.
In fact, the referee has brandished 35 yellow cards this season and a single red card, which came when Yeovil Town hosted King’s Lynn Town at the end of August.
Parsons will be assisted by David Hutton and Andrew Gray, Aaron Farmer will be the fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot Town v Bromley
Barnet v Wrexham
Chesterfield v Boreham Wood
Eastleigh v Altrincham
Grimsby Town v Yeovil Town
Notts County v Stockport County
Solihull Moors v FC Halifax
Torquay United v King’s Lynn Town
Weymouth v Wealdstone
Maidenhead United v Woking
How to Follow:
Blues fans not heading to The Chigwell Construction Stadium on Saturday will still be able to follow all the live action by subscribing to Blues TV where you’ll get live match commentary from the BBC Essex team from all first-team matches this season.
Blues TV costs £4.49 per month or a one-off cost of £45 for the season, with your subscription not only giving you match commentary, but also exclusive access to extended match highlights, full pre-match press conferences, interviews, features and more.
You can also follow live minute-by-minute updates on social media via the Club’s official Twitter account by following @SUFCRootsHall on Twitter, which will ensure you get all the latest news and more throughout the 2021/22 season.