Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United…
Southend United’s first ever FA Trophy campaign continues on Saturday, as Kevin Maher’s side make the short trip to face Dagenham & Redbridge in the fourth round.
Blues surpassed National League South outfit Dorking Wanderers with a 2-1 victory to reach this stage, while the Daggers narrowly edged past Southern League South Division side Truro City, their tie was taken all the way to a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.
And now Maher will lead his side out at the Chigwell Construction Stadium for the second time since his appointment as Blues’ Head Coach, aiming for a better result than the 3-0 league defeat in his dugout debut.
It’ll be the first time the sides have clashed since John Still’s appointment as Head of Football at Roots Hall, he is very well acquainted with many at Dagenham and was involved with the club as recently as this season.
The Daggers’ former boss achieved two promotions during his time at the club.
Blues last paid visit to Dagenham three months ago, and since, the Daggers have endured a mixed bag of results.
After their 3-0 victory against Maher’s side, Daryl McMahon’s outfit only tasted victory once in their following seven matches in all competitions, including five defeats.
But a strong show of character has turned their fortunes, seeing them produce a fine run of form, launching them back into the play-off picture, in sixth place and just four points from second.
The Daggers are the National League’s top scoring side, their attacking options ooze quality with the likes of Paul McCallum, Junior Morias, Angelo Balanta and Josh Walker all within their ranks.
And a familiar face for visiting Blues fans will be Myles Weston, who featured when the two sides clashed three months ago, contributing with an assist.
Blues have enjoyed an upturn in form and massively improved consistent performances.
In their last seven outings, Maher’s side have run out victors four times, drawing twice and losing just once.
Rectifying earlier struggles in front of goal, Blues have scored in each of their last seven matches.
But Saturday’s trophy tie will be a tough test for Southend, the Daggers winning five of their last six matches.
Two of their triumphs came against National League bottom side Dover Athletic, the two sides met twice within a week.
In their last six outings, McMahon’s side have bagged 13 goals.
From The Boss:
"It’s a big month for us,” said Maher.
"We’ve had a good start but there’s a long way to go with some big games coming up.
"Tuesday was good but it’s gone, we’re focusing on the next one now.
"The players have worked ever so hard in training and hopefully that’s what is starting to come out in games.
"It’s good to get points but you need consistency and we want to keep winning football matches.
"It’s a tough one for us and Darryl has a really good team there, it will be a good test for us and we will be better than the last time we went.
"We take every game seriously, under 23 games, friendlies, every game should be taken seriously.
"We always look to win games and this is a cup competition with a Wembley final so we want to do well in it, it’s the next game so all our focus is on it.
"We don’t look too far ahead, and we want the same level of intensity."
Blues’ Team News:
Harrison Neal and Leon Davies will be unavailable for selection, having both already competed in the FA Trophy with their previous clubs.
Maher will make late calls on the fitness of Rhys Murphy and Will Atkinson, who were forced off the field with injury on Tuesday.
Simeon Akinola and James Dunne remain side-lined.
Jacob Miles will be the one calling the shots as Southend make the short trip to Dagenham.
He was the man in the middle when Blues travelled to Grimsby Town in November, as they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat.
Miles has taken charge of eight National League ties this season, showing 22 yellow cards and two reds.
Grzegorz Kornasiewicz and James Hurst will assist Miles, with Hugh Gilroy as fourth official.
Elsewhere in the FA Trophy:
Stourbridge v Guiseley AFC
Alfreton Town v FC Halifax Town
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United
St Albans City v Cheshunt
York City v Slough Town
Tonbridge Angels v King's Lynn Town
Southport v Solihull Moors
Notts County v Eastleigh
Dartford v Weymouth
Aldershot Town v Bromley
Boreham Wood v Maidstone United
Morpeth Town v Boston United
Yeovil Town v Needham Market
Stockport County v Larkhall Athletic
Spennymoor Town v Plymouth Parkway
Wrexham AFC v Folkestone Invicta
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend the Chigwell Construction Stadium 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.