Fans blog: Daggers endure isolation instead of busy festive fixture list

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama Nat

Dagenham and Redbridge manager Daryl McMahon during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Altrincham, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 12th December 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Well, I was expecting to be rounding up a wealth of action from the festive period in this week’s fan blog – but rather, we were deprived of Daggers action on the pitch.

The issue, becoming ever more prevalent, halting progress in terms of fixtures played – COVID-19.

We’ll start with the one game that was played over the festive period, Dover Athletic on Boxing Day – and it was a 0-1 victory for Daryl McMahon’s men.

Not the best of performances, but nonetheless a much-needed victory to continue a winning run – looking to propel themselves up the table.

Angelo Balanta, yet again, coming up with the goods in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Angelo Balanta of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates FA Cu

Angelo Balanta of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates FA Cup Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 7th November 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo


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Though, that was the only action as in the fall-out of that game, we discovered there was a COVID investigation taking place.

Confused as to what that meant, the reverse fixture at Victoria Road against Dover was later called off.

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This raised more concern I think within the Dover camp when it came to fixture pile-up: the Whites ending up with ten games played come mid-January.

Both teams forced to enter a ten-day isolation period.

The Daggers making the ticker on Sky Sports News as the entire squad and coaching staff were forced to isolate. I of course wish those who tested positive a speedy recovery.

This then saw the Solihull Moors game postponed due to be played today (January 9) – the Daggers expected to return to action in a week’s time against Sutton in the FA Trophy.

We’ll get to that game in good time, but first the action off the pitch and all the talk has been about loan expirations. Not least the situation regarding club legend Abu Ogogo who has returned to Bristol Rovers upon the expiry of his loan.

Abu Ogogo of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates FA Cup Foo

Abu Ogogo of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Grimsby Town, Emirates FA Cup Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 7th November 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

The Daggers have made every effort to hold onto him so I’m told, though it’s expected to be announced that he has returned to Bristol Rovers as they too are keen to keep hold of the 31-year-old.

This disappointed me as it would every Dagger, I’d go to the lengths of saying he was a revelation when he joined back in October – his fight and determination – he embodies the ‘Daggers spirit’.

This being a spirit that supporters believed had been severely lacking prior to his return.

McMahon made a rather popular decision amongst the fanbase too, to make him captain at Victoria Road, a role he held at the club when we were in the football league.

The pick of his performances for me was his display at Plainmoor where we defeated the high-flying league leaders in a valiant second half display.

Abu did the work of two players in that half, following Brundle’s dismissal, and his work rate and determination was something to be admired.

So, the expected departure of Abu leaves a gap in midfield to fill, this does open up a debate on who should take his place – a new arrival, or is the answer already in our ranks?

I believe we have some very good centre midfielders but they are all very similar so I’d like to see a replacement come in – but we’ll have to wait and see on this one.

Kai Brown of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National Lea

Kai Brown of Dagenham and Redbridge during Dagenham & Redbridge vs Wealdstone, Vanarama National League Football at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on 10th October 2020 - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Other departures include: Kai Brown, Bailey Clements and Jaden Brissett – all players who never really got a shot at making it into the first team.

A first team which is set to come out of isolation this week and prepare for the fourth round tie at Sutton in the FA Trophy. A tough game, but one you’d hope we can win to see us advance into the next round.

So, that’s the ‘expected’ action on the pitch next week and we’ve talked about the player situation off it - it’ll be interesting to see how that one evolves.

But I’ll speak more on that one next week as we await the return of McMahon’s men to the pitch – can we take the next step in going all the way to Wembley – I hope so!

Until then, stay safe and Come On You Daggers!

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