December 5 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 11, 2013
It really is spooky the way things sometimes work out in football.
Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Matt Saunders made his first appearance for the club last season in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Southend United.
That all came after he injured his right ankle scoring a free-kick for Daggers against Barnet in the 2011-12 season, and the former Fulham man has spent the bulk of this season on the treatment table.
This time round, it was a heel injury picked up before the team came back for pre-season.
And it took until Tuesday night against Southend once again in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy for the 24-year-old’s first start of the current campaign.
But for one the midfielder is just happy to be back again after another frustrating time on the sidelines.
“It was a good game to be involved in with seven goals in total and it was nice to be back in the team and get 90 minutes,” said Saunders.
“I was looking forward to this season with the way the gaffer wants to play. That suits me down to the ground but unfortunately I had the injury which pushed me back and out of the team.
“I have just got to work hard and try to force myself back into the team.”
Tuesday night was one of the most bizarre games to report on with a staggering six goals inside 14 second half minutes and it was exactly the same for Saunders, so much so that he couldn’t remember the score at one stage.
“I’ve never been involved in a game like that ever and I don’t know what it was like for the rest of the lads but it was a surreal experience,” he said.
“It went one way then the other but at one stage I couldn’t remember what the score was so I had to look up at the scoreboard. It was that surreal.”
Midfield has been a strong area for the Daggers so far this season, with skipper Abu Ogogo, Luke Howell and Billy Bingham all excelling in the middle of the park.
Gavin Hoyte’s sending off on Tuesday night may help Saunders if Ogogo reverts to a familiar right-back role.
And Saunders feels the strong competition amongst the squad brings the best out of every single player
“Competition brings the best out of everyone,” he said. “Everyone in the team knows I want to be there and they are all working hard to make sure they keep their places. It breeds that competitive environment.”
That game last season helped Saunders re-establish himself back in the starting line-up for the Daggers and he is hoping it’ll be the case once again, starting with Cheltenham Town tomorrow.
“I said to the lads it was exactly the same fixture, the second round of the JPT at Southend,” he added.
“After that game I got back into the team that season and I kicked on from there so hopefully I can do the same this time around.
“The team have been performing great and that is what’s made it difficult. If the gaffer is looking to change it is hard to see who he’ll pick out but I have just got to wait for my time and take the chance when it comes.
“When he calls on me I need to be ready and I’ve done my job with two assists at Southend. That’s all I can do and hopefully I get more chances to show what I can do.”