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Engage: Mark Collins seeks another year of improvement from young Dagenham squad

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 September 2017

A Dagenham player attacks (pic Tim Edwards)

A Dagenham player attacks (pic Tim Edwards)

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Central Park club are eager to progress and enjoy success in Essex League Division One B

Dagenham under-14s celebrate their cup final win over Clacton Dagenham under-14s celebrate their cup final win over Clacton

Mark Collins wants to create an atmosphere at Dagenham where all of the squad feel as one and there isn’t any split between who is in the first XV and who is battling for the seconds.

It has been a long and hard journey for the Central Park club since they made the tough choice to pull out of Essex League Division One at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign.

But after lots of hard work, the D’s appear to be on the up again, with last season offering plenty of encouragement.

Dagenham rejoined Essex League Division One and although wins were hard to come by in the first couple of months, they managed to finish fifth when the league split into two and ahead of another term, they want to keep on moving up.

Collins said: “I would like to see us in the middle part of the table and battling for honours if possible. I want us to be closer to the top than the bottom, so hopefully we can progress again.

“We want to keep people healthy and interested in the sport and that isn’t just the 18 picked for the first team.

“It is all about making sure the lads not involved are still playing for the seconds and I tell them it is one team.

“We don’t want people to think they are part of the firsts or seconds, it is an equal chance for everyone here.

“If I could play all 30-plus in the same team I would, but we have to split them, so that is how it is, but there are opportunities for all.”

What should help Dagenham push on this season is the return of a couple of experienced heads with former captain Dave Genovesa among them.

D’s have had a young squad in recent years and that will remain the case this time around, but Collins hopes the extra knowledge around will help.

He added: “We have brought back more experience, so that should make a difference and help us this season.

“One of the guys returning is Dave Genovesa and he is a great voice to have in the dressing room and around the place. He is experineced and will help out Chris Rawlinson, so is going to be a good influence on the boys.”

The Essex League Division One B season starts on September 9 with Dagenham at home to Old Brentwoods and knowing Collins, he will have everything in place for another enjoyable campaign.

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