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Dagenham & Redbridge get busy in January despite no transfer window to worry about

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 February 2017

James Norwood of Tranmere Rovers and Jake Sheppard of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

James Norwood of Tranmere Rovers and Jake Sheppard of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Daggers brought in three new faces during first month of 2017

Shomari Barnwell of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Shomari Barnwell of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

While there is no such thing as the January transfer window for clubs in the National League, Dagenham & Redbridge were still pretty busy during the first month of 2017.

Jakub Berkowicz (left) in pre-season action for Dagenham & Redbridge at Ware last summer (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Jakub Berkowicz (left) in pre-season action for Dagenham & Redbridge at Ware last summer (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Three new faces arrived at Victoria Road, while two players had their deals extended and two others had extra months added to their loan deals elsewhere.

Christian Assombalonga in action for Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Christian Assombalonga in action for Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

On what is traditionally ‘Deadline Day’, forward Shomari Barnwell had his loan spell at Bishop’s Stortford in the National League South extended until February 28.

Magnus Okuonghae has left Dagenham & Redbridge after his contract expired earlier this month (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Magnus Okuonghae has left Dagenham & Redbridge after his contract expired earlier this month (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

That followed the news earlier in January that Jakub Berkowicz would be staying with Barkingside of the Essex Senior League until the end of the season.

Shaun Donnellan of Dagenham & Redbridge in action at Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Shaun Donnellan of Dagenham & Redbridge in action at Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Two other players did depart Daggers for good during the month, as Chris Assombalonga left for Ryman Premier outfit Billericay Town and Magnus Okuonghae was released.

Curtis Bateson of North Ferriby United and Sam Ling of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Curtis Bateson of North Ferriby United and Sam Ling of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

As for the incomings, all three provide some much needed depth in key areas for Daggers.

Jordan Maguire-Drew of Dagenham & Redbridge and Liam Ridehalgh of Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Jordan Maguire-Drew of Dagenham & Redbridge and Liam Ridehalgh of Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Loanees Shaun Donnellan, from West Bromwich Albion, and Jake Sheppard, from Reading, will both add depth in defence, while Jake Howells, who arrived on a free transfer after his release from Eastleigh, will bolster the midfield.

Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge is congratulated by Fejiri Okenabirhie after scoring at Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge is congratulated by Fejiri Okenabirhie after scoring at Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

In addition to the new boys, Sam Ling had his short-term deal extended until the end of the season after impressing since joining in September, and Daggers would do well to keep him past the summer.

Corey Whitely of Dagenham & Redbridge and Liam Ridehalgh of Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Corey Whitely of Dagenham & Redbridge and Liam Ridehalgh of Tranmere Rovers (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

And though he is not a permanent member of the squad, Jordan Maguire-Drew was another to have his deal extended, with his loan from Brighton & Hove Albion now running to the end of the season.

Perhaps the Essex club’s best bit of business did not come in bringing in or selling players, but in keeping hold of them.

It was expected Daggers would face a difficult battle to keep hold of top scorer Oliver Hawkins, and early in January there was talk of a £250,000 move to the Championship.

League One outfit Swindon Town had a six-figure bid turned down, while Ipswich Town were understood to have made enquiries before signing Kieffer Moore from Forest Green Rovers.

Thankfully for Daggers, interest in Hawkins died down after it emerged they had slapped a £500,000 price tag on his head, with any deal also to include a loan back until the end of the season.

Other key men, such as Corey Whitely and Fejiri Okenabirhie, were rumoured to have slight interest in them from Football League clubs, but nothing ever materialised.

There is still an outside chance the trio might depart for a club in the National League, but Daggers would hardly sell to a title rival.

So much is at stake for Daggers this season that it was important they kept hold of their star men in January, regardless of the offers received and the overtures of Football League teams.

The summer, however, could be a different story, no matter what division they find themselves in.

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