Still admits Daggers duo are off

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE manager John Still has resigned himself to losing Ben Strevens and Sam Saunders in the close season. The pair are out of contract at Victoria Road, and with Brentford manager Andy Scott keen to sign the duo who were so influential in

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE manager John Still has resigned himself to losing Ben Strevens and Sam Saunders in the close season, writes MIKE SIMMONDS.

The pair are out of contract at Victoria Road, and with Brentford manager Andy Scott keen to sign the duo who were so influential in Daggers' efforts to reach the play-offs, Still expects them to move on.

"There is no doubt in my mind that we will lose both Ben and Sam," he admitted.

"They have both come in to see me and expressed a desire to stay, but they can go and play a division higher and earn twice the money they are on here.


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"I would never hold a player back who can better himself, and they are both at the age now, where they can't turn down such a move.

"I wish them both the best, as they have been fantastic for this club."

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Whether they both end up at Brentford is another matter, but as both are over the age of 24, the Daggers will not be able to command a compensation package.

"We won't be able to recoup fees on them, but sometimes you run that risk," said Still.

"We had an offer for Ben in the transfer window from Wycombe, but we decided to keep him and see what happened with our own promotion hopes."

With Saunders and Strevens on their way, then Daggers fans will be hopeful that player of the season Magnus Okuonghae doesn't follow suit, though as he is 23, a financial package would be involved.

"Magnus is another player we are hoping to keep, but this happens every season to us, as a club, we do get exploited," said the boss.

"We make offers to our out of contract players, but they are our final offers, as we can't come back with anything better.

"It is something that I am prepared for though as we could be without the three attacking players in Ben, Sam and Matt Ritchie, who helped us finish as top scorers last season.

"I have already brought in Danny Green, who will take some work, but this stage of the season is always like the domino effect, as it takes one club to do some business for others to follow suit."

There was some good news for Daggers this week though, as former Southend and Gillingham midfielder Stuart Thurgood joined on a two-year deal, while veteran goalkeeper Tony Roberts also signed a new one-year contract.

"Stuart is player I've liked for a long time and I have tried to sign him before," said Still. "What really impressed me was his hunger and desire to get back into the Football League.

"At 27, he is a great age for us, and with the likes of Solomon Taiwo and Peter Gain, it gives us real competition for places.

"Tony seems to get better, so I'm delighted he's signed for another season."

Are you disappointed that Saunders and Strevens want to leave? Email: sport@ilfordrecorder.co.uk

The Recorder is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Recorder_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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