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Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder praises versatile squad ahead of Chester clash

PUBLISHED: 14:30 03 February 2017

Frankie Raymond of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Frankie Raymond of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

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

Daggers midfielder has also been deployed at left-back this season

Midfielder Frankie Raymond says the versatility of the Dagenham & Redbridge squad has been part of the reason why they have been performing so well in the National League this season.

Though normally a central midfielder, Raymond has often found himself at left-back this season, and he is not the only one to have been deployed in a new position.

Left-back Joe Widdowson has played on the right, while striker Oliver Hawkins has been deployed as an emergency centre-back, and plenty of other players have also slotted in to different positions.

With Daggers through the worst of an injury crisis, though, Raymond is likely to line up in his favoured midfield position at home to Chester tomorrow (Saturday).

But the 24-year-old says it is still important to have players capable of fulfilling multiple positions over the run-in to the end of the season.

“In the months just gone with all the injuries we had, we needed players to fill in all over,” said the former Reading youngster.

“Now, we’ve got a strong bunch of 25 players to pick from, so we’re in a strong position going into the last few months.

“The competition gives you that extra five per cent you need to push on. There are two or three players in each position fighting to start, so it’s only going to be good for us over the next few months.

“We’ve got a few players coming back from injury who are going to be fresh, so it’s looking good.”

Raymond will hope to help Daggers gain revenge against Chester this weekend, having lost 3-0 away to the Blues in August.

Having comfortably beaten Southport on the opening day of the season, the Essex club were brought back down to earth with a bump with an equally convincing loss on the second matchday.

But Raymond believes Daggers have improved since then and is confident they will prove a point against Chester.

“Chester beat us fair and square at their place, but we were still a new bunch of players then.

“We’ve bedded in since then, so we’re stronger now and hopefully that’s enough to get us the win.

“Back then, we were a new team, but as the season has gone on we’ve grown stronger and stronger.”

Daggers will be buoyed this weekend after an important 2-0 win away to Tranmere Rovers, which was their third victory and clean sheet in succession.

And Raymond says the squad displayed good mental strength to claim the three points against their promotion rivals, despite not playing at their best.

“It probably wasn’t our best performance, but we showed great character to get the win,” said Raymond.

“Mentally, now we know we’re as good as any team in this league. We know we can go anywhere and get the win.”

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