Dagenham & Redbridge defender Joe Widdowson reveals so many centre-back pairings has made life tough at the back

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 January 2017

Josh Staunton of Dagenham & Redbridge and Jack Midson of Braintree Town (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Josh Staunton of Dagenham & Redbridge and Jack Midson of Braintree Town (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Daggers fielded their eighth different centre-back pairing of the season in win over Braintree Town

Shaun Donnellan of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Shaun Donnellan of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Dagenham & Redbridge left-back Joe Widdowson admits it has been tough this season playing alongside so many different centre-back pairings.

In the 3-0 win over Braintree Town on Monday night, Josh Staunton lined up with new loan signing Shaun Donnellan – the eighth different centre-back combination this season.

To make matters worse, Widdowson himself has also played at right-back, meaning he has had to adjust to playing next to a different centre-back than he would when playing on his natural left side.

With so many enforced changes in defence, it’s perhaps unsurprising Daggers had not kept a clean sheet since November before beating Iron, and Widdowson admits the lack of a consistent back four has cost them.

“Playing regularly and consistently with people, you build up a relationship with them,” said the 27-year-old.

“I’ve played on the right this season too, sometimes with ‘Doey’ (Scott Doe) and sometimes with ‘Staunts’ (Staunton).

“It’s about trying to find a way to win games and we haven’t been happy with some of the goals we’ve conceded lately.

“We know we need to improve some of our defending, so the clean sheet was good and the centre-backs did really well against Braintree, as did ‘Lingy’ (right-back Sam Ling).”

There was perhaps added pressure on Widdowson against the Iron as, without the suspended Doe, he was the only member of the back four who had played in the Football League.

Widdowson seemed to thrive with the extra responsibility as he turned in what was arguably his best display this season.

But rather than accept the praise himself, the former West Ham United youngster was only to happy to pass it on to those around.

“‘Doey’ is a big leader for us, so I was the old man in the back four, but the other three were outstanding,” he added.

“Shaun has only trained about an hour with us, but he was brilliant.

“‘Staunts’ was very good and solid, like he has been all season, and ‘Lingy’, who’s been injured and only trained a couple of times too.

“It was a mix-and-match back four that hadn’t trained much together, but the three young guys did really well.”

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