Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Luke Guttridge confident of success in National League after good pre-season campaign
PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 August 2016
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Daggers man believes club have shown they can challenge for title as long as they tighten up
Dagenham & Redbridge playmaker Luke Guttridge says the club’s pre-season form should give fans reasons to optimistic this season, with the new National League campaign set to get underway on Saturday.
The Victoria Road club hit 19 goals in six first-team friendlies of which they won four, with top scorer Oliver Hawkins netting five times as he looks to stake his claim to be Daggers’ number one striker after the summer departures of Christian Doidge, Jamie Cureton and Matt McClure.
Also chipping in with goals have been wingers Fejiri Okenabirhie, Chris Assombalonga and Jordan Maguire-Drew, who netted in each of his first three appearances for the Essex club after joining on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion.
While not scoring himself, Guttridge also enjoyed a fruitful run of friendlies, grabbing numerous assists and teeing up plenty of other chances for Daggers’ forwards.
And though he knows there are still areas for the team to improve in, the 34-year-old believes the club can achieve something good this term.
“It’s been refreshing this year with a new squad. We get on well, on and off the pitch and it’s looking promising,” said the ex-Luton Town midfielder.
“From the pre-season games, every game we’ve played we’ve had patches where it’s been really good and patches where it needs improving.
“If we can tidy up in both boxes, start putting away our chances, stop conceding from set pieces and crosses, I think we’ve got a good chance this season.”
For Daggers’ final firs-team pre-season game, a 1-0 loss at home to Wimbledon, Guttridge was named skipper after regular captain Scott Doe was rested because of a shoulder injury.
It would appear, then, that the former Torquay United trainee will be vice-captain for the upcoming campaign, even if there is yet to be any official confirmation.
But either way, Guttridge says he will be one of the Victoria Road club’s leaders, even if he is not wearing the armband.
He added: “I’m not bothered, no disrespect, about being captain. I don’t need an armband to be captain and ‘Doey’ is club captain.
“I’ve got no problem if the manager wants me to take on responsibility when ‘Doey’ is not playing, but it’s not something I’ve ever needed in my game.
“I like to think I’ve always led anyway, I don’t need an armband to do it.”