Dagenham & Redbridge v Aldershot Town: Match Preview – Saturday 10 February 2018
After another two-week break, Aldershot Town return to action on Saturday, with a trip to Victoria Road, home of Dagenham & Redbridge in a match that will be screened live on BT Sport with a 5.30pm kick-off. Both teams were without a game last weekend. Last time out, The Shots secured all three points at Brisbane Road, beating Leyton Orient 3-2, thanks to goals from Shamir Fenelon, Will Evans and Adam McDonnell.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Shots skipper Callum Reynolds continues his rehabilitation following injury, although it’s likely that Saturday will come too soon for his return. Likewise, Jim Kellermann (hamstring) and Fabien Robert are also on their way back to full fitness and could feature soon. Manager Gary Waddock stated: “All we wanted was competition and when you’re in the starting eleven, you have to perform. Every member of the group will play their part from now to the end of the season.”
Opposition – Dagenham & Redbridge FC:
Nickname: The Daggers
Ground: Chigwell Construction Stadium
Head Coach: John Still
Despite an extensive early-season injury crisis, The Daggers finished fourth in the National League (one place above The Shots) and made the end-of-season Play-Offs. They went out at the semi-final stage to eventual Play-Off Final winners Forest Green.
Widely-respected manager John Still returned to Dagenham & Redbridge to commence his third spell in charge of the club in December 2015. He had previously been in charge between 1992 and 1994, and again between 2004 and 2013. The vastly-experienced boss has been patrolling dugouts since the 1970s and, despite being unable to save The Daggers from relegation last summer, was kept on to lead the comeback. His knowledge of the non-league scene is second to none, having spotted and developed some real ‘gems’ over the years, including the likes of Craig Mackail-Smith and Dwight Gayle.
Until recently, Still has worked with a larger squad this season. He kept the vast majority of his 2016-17 squad and added to it with both quality and quantity. They have been in the top 10 all season and remain one of the National League’s top scoring sides, with Michael Cheek (Braintree Town) weighing in with nine goals to date, well backed-up by Corey Whitely (8) and Morgan Ferrier (8), although the latter has this week returned to his former club Boreham Wood. Also moving on is defender Sam Ling, who has returned to Leyton Orient, and Captain Scott Doe, who has left for personal reasons. Stevenage centre-back Kevin Lokko was due to stay on-loan for the season but has also returned to his parent club, and The Daggers will contest the remainder of this season with a reduced playing squad of 22 players, which is now on a par with Aldershot Town.
Four wins and four draws in their opening eight matches ensured that The Daggers got their season off to a good start, and they have been amongst the National League pacesetters all season. However, they have endured a more difficult run of late, winning just one of their last eight league matches.
Saturday evening sees the 27th meeting between Aldershot Town and Dagenham & Redbridge. Both teams have 11 victories each to their name, with just four matches between the two sides having been drawn. The last meeting between the two sides, back in September, saw the spoils shared, as Mammy Oyeleke received a red card at The EBB Stadium in a 1-1 draw. Adam McDonnell scored for The Shots whilst Sam Ling’s late strike levelled things up.
In March 2017, with both sides chasing a Play-Off place, it was The Shots who prevailed 3-1. Shamir Fenelon, Bernard Mensah and Matt McClure scored for Town, whilst Scott Doe scored the only goal for the visitors. Earlier last season, Waddock’s men were perhaps a shade unlucky to come away from Victoria Road on the end of a 1-0 defeat, after impressing against John Still’s team, who sat second in the league at the time. Corey Whitely’s 81st minute strike was all that separated the two teams.
Aldershot Town’s last Football League victory came against The Daggers in April 2013 at the EBB Stadium, as Michael Rankine netted the only goal of the game. Six months earlier, the two sides had played out a goalless draw in East London. Overall, Aldershot Town have won four, drawn two and lost two of their last eight games against Saturday’s opposition, with the other defeat coming in a 3-2 home loss in February 2010.
Saturday’s referee is Neil Hair, who has taken charge of 20 National League matches so far this season, showing 68 yellow cards and one red card to date. He refereed Aldershot Town’s 2-1 home victory over Tranmere Rovers this season, booking nine players on the day.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall will be covering the game live on Saturday evening. Tune in to the BBC Sport website or BBC Sport App from 5.20 pm for full match commentary. To interact with him, tweet @RobShot66