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Joe Widdowson: Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League title race

PUBLISHED: 14:00 06 January 2017

Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge is congratulated by Jordan Maguire-Drew after opening the scoring against North Ferriby United in September (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Oliver Hawkins of Dagenham & Redbridge is congratulated by Jordan Maguire-Drew after opening the scoring against North Ferriby United in September (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Daggers still only six points off top spot despite taking just four points from a possible 18

Luke Howell of Dagenham & Redbridge celebrates scoring against North Ferriby United with Fejiri Okenabirhie (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)Luke Howell of Dagenham & Redbridge celebrates scoring against North Ferriby United with Fejiri Okenabirhie (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Left-back Joe Widdowson believes Dagenham & Redbridge have as good a chance as anyone to lift the National League title this season ahead of Saturday’s trip to North Ferriby United.

Daggers have won just two of their last six games in the league and had not won in their last four at home in the competition, before beating Braintree Town 3-0 on Monday night in front of the live BT Sport cameras.

Despite their stuttering form, Daggers remain just six points adrift of leaders Lincoln City, but the Imps have a game in hand.

However, with just 19 games to go for Daggers this term, defender Widdowson is adamant it is still all to play for.

“It’s a bit of a strange league this season and it’s surprising that we haven’t dropped away despite our form,” said the 27-year-old.

“We’re still in amongst it and it’s good that no team is running away with that top spot. We have as good a chance as anyone to win the title this year.”

Widdowson was part of a young back four on Monday night, being the oldest head at just 27, but in spite of that, Daggers were able to record a clean sheet against the Iron.

It was the Victoria Road outfit’s first shutout since the 1-0 win at Maidstone United in November, a run of five league games.

The left-back was pleased that the Essex club were able to keep it tight at the back once again to record a 12th league clean sheet of the season.

But Widdowson also knows there needs to be a few more over the coming weeks if Daggers are to be seen as genuine contenders for the National League title.

“Keeping the clean sheet is a good start to 2017 for us, the last few weeks our form hasn’t been what we want it to be, but the gaffer has said it’s a new year,” added Widdowson.

“We want to stay in and around the top group, before surging towards the top come the end of the season.

“That’s what we’re aiming for, so it’s a good start and it’s good that we’re still in and around that group, but we have to continue that.”

n No less than three Dagenham & Redbridge players were shipped out on loan over the festive period as boss John Still looks to give his squad some game time.

Shomari Barnwell has joined National League South strugglers Bishop’s Stortford on loan until January 28.

Barnwell’s fellow striker Chris Assombalonga, meanwhile, has joined Stortford’s divisional rivals St Albans City on loan until January 21.

Right-back Jimmy Shepherd has also been on the move, joining Ryman Premier outfit Billericay Town, who are owned by Glenn Tamplin, until January 23.


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