Dagenham & Redbridge defender Sam Ling says there is no added pressure on squad just because they are top ahead of trip to Bromley
17:30 23 September 2016
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New Daggers youngster discusses joining club and influence of his father, former Leyton Orient boss Martin Ling
Sam Ling believes Dagenham & Redbridge’s young squad can achieve something special this season as they prepare to defend top spot in the National League at Bromley tomorrow.
The ex-Leyton Orient youngster last week became John Still’s 15th signing following relegation from the Football League last season, of which six were under the age of 23 when they joined.
A 2-0 victory at home to North Ferriby United last weekend saw Daggers move to the summit of the table, one point clear of Forest Green Rovers.
Because of their lofty position, there may be a greater weight of expectation on the shoulders of the young squad as they chase a fourth league win in a row away to the Ravens this weekend.
But Ling says no one is feeling under any added pressure because the side are top, and is confident Daggers can stay in pole position for a while yet.
“It’s a young squad, with a lot of good young players around the team who have made me feel really welcome. We’ll do really well this season,” commented the 19-year-old.
“I wouldn’t say there is more pressure on us being top now, we’re all good players and all capable of being at the top throughout the season.”
Ling was added to the squad to help ease the pressure on a stretched back four, having featured regularly for Daggers during pre-season.
In total, the teenager appeared in six of the nine friendlies played by the Essex club in the summer, starting four of those.
Owing to the current takeover saga, though, just over six weeks had passed before Ling arrival on a permanent deal was confimed.
The teenager admits it was a long wait before signing the contract, but he was delighted to finally put pen to paper.
“It was a bit of a long wait, a long trial period, but the gaffer showed he wanted to play me throughout pre-season,” he added.
“I always thought at the end of it, I would get a contract and it has finally been sorted, so I’m really pleased.”
A keen spectator during many of the friendlies that Ling played in was his father Martin, the former O’s manager.
And, somewhat unsurprisingly, the younger Ling says his old man has been a huge influence on his fledgling career to date.
“My dad is close with the gaffer, knows about Dagenham and knows it’s a good club to be at,” added the defender.
“He knows it’s a club where I’ll have a chance to play and he was delighted when I finally put pen to paper.”