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Gayle keen to prove his worth to Daggers after Football League debut

Ian Gayle of Dagenham & Redbridge during his debut appearance at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. Pic: Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO Ian Gayle of Dagenham & Redbridge during his debut appearance at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. Pic: Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
3:26 PM

Dagenham & Redbridge defender Ian Gayle insists he’s the man that can fill the void left by the suspended Scott Doe.

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Doe was shown a straight red card in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers after raising his hands to Chairboys striker Steven Craig and the 21-year-old Gayle came on for his Football League debut.

The Academy graduate was not out of place alongside Brian Saah, and though Doe will now be on the sidelines for the next three games, starting with the visit of Portsmouth on Saturday, Gayle feels he’s ready for the challenge of regular first-team football with the Daggers.

“I thought I did alright, I wish we got something from the game but it was good to get my debut today,” said Gayle.

“I came up through the academy system, and I am now a third year professional and I finally got my debut. Hopefully I can push on from here.

“I feel I have been ready for a little while, but we have experienced centre halves at this club and I am only a youngster so I have just had to wait my turn.”

The chances of a late play-off push now are very slim, as York City hold a six-point gap over the Daggers going into the final five games of the season .

But while it is still mathematically possible, you will not see Gayle giving up.

“I’ll give it my all and try to help the team get as many points as we can,” he added.

“If we win all our games now we have an opportunity to make the play-offs which is what we really want to do, but we cannot afford to drop any more points.”

On Saturday he played alongside Saah at centre half, and Gayle believes having such an experienced defender next to him was a massive boost on his debut.

“I enjoyed playing with Brian because he talked me through the game and he is an experienced centre half,” he added.

“I enjoyed playing with him hopefully we can play a few more games together.”

Gayle has spent time on loan this season at Whitehawk and most recently Grays Athletic.

And while it is a big gap between Ryman Premier football and League Two, the 21-year-old felt at home as part of the Daggers backline at the weekend.

“You always want to play games and that’s how you improve,” said Gayle.

“You can train all you like but you need to be on the pitch trying your best but today I didn’t feel out of place, I felt comfortable so hopefully we can push on.”

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