Dagenham & Redbridge: Daggers set to say goodbye to loyal servants Mark Cousins and Luke Howell
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 May 2018
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Dagenham & Redbridge may have bid farewell to two of their most loyal servants after the National League season came to an end on Saturday.
Luke Howell and Mark Cousins both featured for Daggers in defeat at Macclesfield Town on Saturday — and both are out of contract this summer.
Between them, Howell and Cousins have amassed over 300 appearances for the Essex club.
That experience could be lost in the summer, with neither yet to sign a new deal which may in part be down to the current financial crisis engulfing Daggers.
Howell initially joined the Victoria Road outfit in August 2011 on a free transfer following his release from Lincoln City earlier that summer.
In his first stint with Daggers, the now 31-year-old made 127 Football League appearances, scoring 18 goals.
Howell departed in the summer of 2015 when his previous deal with Daggers expired and joined Boreham Wood in the National League.
After just one season at Meadow Park with the Wood, the midfielder returned to Victoria Road as he looked to help boss John Still in his quest to secure an immediate return to League Two.
In his second Daggers stint, Howell has so far made 50 league appearances, scoring four goals, but it seems unlikely he will add to that tally.
Cousins, meanwhile, is set to depart as Daggers’ reigning player of the season after winning the award last weekend.
The custodian arrived at Victoria Road in the summer of 2014 after leaving former club Colchester United.
In his first two seasons, the now 31-year-old tussled with Liam O’Brien for the starting spot between the sticks.
When O’Brien departed after Daggers were relegated from the Football League, Cousins found himself in a battle with Elliot Justham to be the top stopper.
Justham started the majority of games in the 2016/17 season, but a late loss of form saw Cousins return in goal for the National League run-in and the play-offs.
With Justham sidelined for much of the current campaign, Cousins has been the undisputed number one and has enjoyed a terrific season.
The impending departures of both Howell and Cousins will be tough on Daggers, with Still having to source replacements.
But with doubts over the club’s future, there are more pressing worries.