Dagenham & Redbridge: Daggers want to down Eastleigh on return to National League after FA Trophy loss
PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 December 2017
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Essex club saw four-game winning run end last weekend, so will be keen to hit back against Spitfires
Dagenham & Redbridge will want to bounce back when they return to National League action at home to Eastleigh on Saturday following their FA Trophy exit last weekend.
The Essex club were dumped out of the cup competition following a surprise 3-2 loss at Southern Premier promotion hopefuls Hereford.
It was a defeat which brought an end to Daggers’ winning run, having triumphed in each of their last four games prior to the loss at the Bulls.
Having been on such a good run of form ahead of the trip to Edgar Street, boss John Still opted to name a near full strength side on Sunday, rather than rotate his team for the FA Trophy and keep his charges fresh for the league campaign.
It was a move that somewhat backfired, with Daggers losing at Hereford, but Still had few qualms about his decisions regarding team selection.
“We tried to go with what we’ve been playing because we had been on a good run and I didn’t feel the need to change it,” he said.
“We pushed on in the second half and tried to be as positive as we could be in getting a winner.
“When you do that and change your system a little bit, then there is always the possibility of giving away goals.”
Still may yet come to rue his decision not to rotate his squad for the FA Trophy, with the clash at home to Eastleigh marking the start of a run of four games in just nine days.
After hosting the Spitfires, Daggers are back in action on Boxing Day when they make the short trip to local rivals Leyton Orient. The Essex club are also on the road next Saturday as they head over the Dartford Crossing to face Ebbsfleet United, before hosting the O’s on New Year’s Day.
The Christmas period could well test the depth of the Daggers squad, so Still will no doubt be pleased to see several players return from injury just in time for the busy run.
The likes of Dan Sparkes and Chike Kandi have been eased back in action over the past month after long-term injuries, while Luke Pennell made his first appearance in a matchday squad since September at the weekend.
All three could feature more in the coming weeks as Daggers look to keep pace with their promotion rivals over the festive period.