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Predictions 2008-9 - 19th Dagenham
Predictions 2008-9 - 19th Dagenham
Friday, 1st Aug 2008 23:08

Predictions coming thick and fast now, and we're just inside the top twenty by looking at who we think will finish in 19th position this time round.

Dagenham & Redbridge
last season at a glance

You could argue that last season was everything that they could ever have hoped that it would be. I know you hear all that about how they're not just in the Football League to make up the numbers and how the word "consolidation" is banned around the club, but reality is that Dagenham were never going to do anything other than at the very best stay up, and that was exactly what they did. However, a total of 49 points gained is less than fifty point safety figure that is offered banded about.

The gaffer
You'd be forgiven for thinking that John Still has always been manager of Dagenham. Or rather than he was their manager back in the days when they were known as Barnet, and he continued that reign when they underwent the change of name to become Dagenham and Redbridge.

He's clearly got something about him, and it would appear that his niche is taking smallish sides up from the Conference, and keeping them well away from the trapdoor from where they came. He's certainly took Dagenham further than they've been before, as he did with Maidstone United many years earlier.

Quite whether he'll be able to take Daggers up to that next level, like he did with Barnet when he lead them to the Play Offs. It'd certainly be a bigger achievement should he manage that.

Reasons for a better season

Well the obvious answer is that they'll be all the better for their one season in the Football League. Most of their side had come with them from the Conference, and had little Football League experience behind them. Except for keeper Tony Roberts who brought the average number of League appearances in the Dagenham side to 270 for each player.

They have retained the bulk of their side, and will certainly kick off the new season with no worse a squad that they finished last season with. No one has gone Perkins grabbing with Dagenham.

Manager Still has used his non league contacts to bring in striker Mark Nwokeji from Staines. He got 34 goals last season, and could well be another one who has slipped through the net only to come in later on in life. 

Reasons for a worse season

Long term readers will know how we often go on about the importance of "momentum" when discussing a side's prospects. Normally when we mention how a side who narrowly avoid relegation on the final day of the season due to a good late run, and how we tip them for better things the next season. Like we did in the past two years with both Torquay and Wrexham who completely blow that theory right out of the water.

But it does ring true for the sides promoted from the Conference. Dagenham had an okayish  start to the season, only for things to start sliding very quickly winning just three games between the end of September and February. Their whole survival last season was dependant on one good run of form where they won five games on the trot. Form over 46 games would suggest that this was not a true reflection of what Dagenham are like.

Season depends on Ben Strevens
When it comes to naming the top strikers in the division, you'd be very surprised to hear Ben Strevens name mentioned by anyone. But whilst he may not be one for picking up the plaudits, he remains a good striker at this level who stays under the radar as he doesn't feature for one of the more glamourous sides. Well as close to glamour as you can get in this division.

He's got a little bit of everything has Strevens. He's over six foot tall, so he's useful in the air, and he knows where the back of the net is, with fifteen league goals last season in a side which was generally a struggling side.

Dagenham received a bid for Strevens from a League One side on 1st August, which was duly accepted but then turned down by Strevens. Whether that was a signal of a desire to stay at Dagenham or a reflection on the deal offered, but if he can remain at Dagenham throughout the season, then they'll certainly have an advantage over some of their rivals down the bottom. Prediction

19th - Lower half nothingness

Reasons for our prediction
You can almost predict where Dagenham are going to finish right now. Well obviously we have done above, but with Dagenham, they're the sort of side where you'd happily stake your mortgage on their finishing position.

You know for certain that there's not a hope in hell of them finishing anywhere close to the top half. There's not enough drugs in the world for anyone to think that they've got anything close enough to be being worthy of the tag of Play Off outsiders.

They're sticking with the same squad mostly from last year, so you'd have to assume that will bring with it a similar finish to last season. More experienced the players may be, but they're not going to become better players all of a sudden.

But on the flip side, with all the problems with other sides, whether its the points deductions surrounding Luton, Bournemouth and Rotherham, or the general crapness of sides like Chester, they'll have more than enough about them to ensure that they avoid getting dragged into the mire at the bottom.

The pressure will certainly be on Strevens to perform. Whilst they are far more than being a one man team, having Strevens will be something that sets them aside from the likes of Accrington and Chester, and it will be his goals which ensure that Dagenham pick up sufficient wins here and there to stay above the aforementioned Accy and Chester.

So pop down to the Building Society in the morning, and smile nicely as you inform the manager that you wish to stake all of your equity on Dagenham to finish somewhere between 18th and 22nd thanks to that nice, little It's in the bag already.

Photo: Action Images

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