Spillane: Relegation should not be on the agenda

Dagenham & Redbridge’s player of the season Michael Spillane is targeting a top-half finish ahead of the 2012-13 campaign

Michael Spillane is confident avoiding relegation will not be an issue this term as Dagenham & Redbridge seek to avoid a repeat of last season’s struggles and bag a top-half finish.

Spillane was an integral part of the Daggers side that put together a remarkable run of one defeat from their final 10 games of last season to survive in League Two after previously looking doomed.

And the 22-year-old, who was named Player of the Season for his monumental effort, believes the team should be focusing their attention on a top-half finish this time around.

“I think we can achieve more as a team and push on up the league,” said Spillane.

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“That has to be our goal this year, not to be battling relegation but looking towards the top half.

“I don’t think the play-offs are out of the question, we’re capable, but it would still be a very big achievement if we did it.

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“It’s certainly better to aim for than just staying in the division.”

Spillane, who became a father for the first time this summer after the birth of daughter Tallulah Poppy, showed no signs of fatigue on Saturday as he netted two free-kicks in a 2-1 win over Dover.

With regular set-piece taker Damien McCrory having moved to Burton Albion this summer, Spillane could be in line for further dead ball duty next season.

And the former Brentford man would relish the chance to potentially add to last season’s four-goal haul.

“I always have a go (at free-kicks) after training,” he revealed.

“It’s something I would always put myself forward for during a game.

“Sometimes it just depends on who fancies it though.

“The second one (v Dover) was the better of the two. The first one I saw the wall wasn’t lined up properly and I passed it into the corner.

“The second one was up and over the wall, which is always a bit more difficult.”

The former Norwich City and Luton Town man found himself occupying several different roles in the team last year – such was the extent of Daggers’ injury crisis – filling spots right across the back four and midfield.

Having inherited the number six shirt from departing club captain Mark Arber though, it would appear Spillane is set for a place at the heart of defence.

“I’ve not really discussed my role with the gaffer, but I’ve been playing at centre-back in pre-season, so I assume that’s where I’ll stay,” said Spillane.

“I’m happy wherever I play. I’m still undecided on my best position, but I feel comfortable wherever I am on the pitch – I enjoy going forwards.”

If his future does lie in defence, Spillane will line up alongside Gavin Hoyte, the only new arrival at the club so far this summer.

And Spillane is impressed with what he has seen from the former Arsenal man.

“Gavin’s been very good so far,” added Spillane.

“He’s an excellent full-back, no-one gets past him and on the rare occasion they do he’s quick enough to get back and recover.”

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