It’s been a difficult past couple of months for Dagenham & Redbridge who began the National League season like a house on fire.

They were the talk of the opening day after spoiling the party at big-spending Stockport County with a 3-1 win having gone a goal down after just nine minutes.

From there they did not look back with five wins and a draw in their opening six matches, a run which came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at Wrexham on September 18.

A run of three straight league defeats in early October set them back even further and they lie in the final play-off spot in seventh going in to the weekend.

But, at Victoria Road the Daggers have lost only once with conceding two late goals in a 3-2 defeat against Altrincham in the first of at three-game run of defeats.

Last time out, a hat-trick from Angelo Balanta, who played seven times in Yeovil’s League One promotion season in 2013, and another from strike partner Ibby Akbani gave them a 4-1 win at Maidenhead in the FA Cup.

Akbani has already faced the Glovers this season having played for Aldershot Town on August Bank Holiday Monday. The 24-year-old joined on loan for the season at the end of last month.

With top-scorer Paul McCallum out for the past five matches through suspension – he is available again at the weekend – and Josh Walker missing through injury, Dagenham splash out a “five-figure fee” to bring striker Junior Morias in from King’s Lynn Town.

The Jamaican remained on the bench for the FA Cup at Maidenhead  but will be looking to start against the Glovers.

Also, catch our chat with Dagenham & Redbridge fan Terry @CockneyByRites on our latest podcast – here.


FROM (OUR) MANAGER

Speaking ahead of the weekend, Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll was asked about the Daggers, he said: “Dagenham are strong, last year they and Stockport were the strongest recruiters in the division, they had enormous bad luck with availability.

“They have pretty much the same group and they are still adding players, they took Morias from King’s Lynn and Akanbi from Aldershot, so they are still adding to their group.

“That is a great problem for Daryl (McMahon, the Dagenham manager) to have.”


TEAM NEWS

Striker Paul McCallum is available for selection having missed the past five matches through suspension.

The former Barnet frontman, who has six goals this season, was sent off after just two minutes of FA Cup win at Wealdstone last month and then handed a further two match ban for a further charge of improper conduct.

Daggers’ boss Daryl McMahon has said forwards Josh Walker, who has scored five times including four in his first five matches, and Scott Wilson is also missing through injury.

Walker is likely to be out until Christmas with a groin injury whilst Wilson requires surgery of his knee, but is not expected to be back until the middle of January

The form of ex-Glovers’ loanee Angelo Balanta, who has four goals in his last three matches, and strike-partner Ibby Akanbi means McCallum, Walker and Wilson have barely been missed in recent weeks.

Left-back Elliott Johnson and midfielder Joey Jones, who spent the 2013-14 season at Huish Park despite not playing a competitive minute, are also expected to be unavailable.

Jones suffered a stress fracture of his knee in the recent FA Cup defeat to Salford City and will be missing until the start of next year,

Of his absentee, McMahon said: “We’re down some players, but it gives an opportunity for someone else to step in and perform. We know we’ve got a small squad, but it’s a strong squad.

 


A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

 

There’s a good chance that both players wearing the captain’s armband on Saturday will have a foot in both camps.

In the green-and-white corner, Yeovil Town defender Luke Wilkinson played 65 times for the Daggers following his release by Portsmouth in 2010.

He had a couple of spells on loan at Boreham Wood and one at Dartford during his time at Victoria Road before departing for Luton Town in 2014.

For the home side, Angelo Balanta played six times for Gary Johnson’s Glovers whilst on loan from Queens Park Rangers in the 2012-13 season.

The Colombian winger was an unused substitute in the 2-1 play-off final win over Brentford which secured promotion to the Championship.

If you’ve not heard it, check out our podcast with former Yeovil Town press officer Jimmy Healey for a great story about Balanta’s celebration – here.

He had a spell at Bristol Rovers, helping them out of the Football Conference in 2015, before moving to Carlisle United, Boreham Wood and eventually arriving at Dagenham in October 2018.

Also likely to start for the visitors at the weekend are Joe Quigley, dubbed ‘a head of a stick’ by some Dagenham fans, when he arrived at Yeovil just over a year ago.

The London-born striker scored six times in 32 appearances during his time at Victoria Road, but having missed a couple of ‘sitters’ never found a home at the club before moving to South Somerset.

Another Glover who remains well-regarded by the Daggers’ fans is Josh Staunton.

He arrived in Essex following his release by Gillingham in the summer of 2016 and made 37 appearances as they reached the Conference play-offs missing out to eventual winners Forest Green Rovers.

Despite playing in most positions in defence, Staunton was allowed to leave and joined Woking for the following season and then moved to FC Halifax Town from whom he joined Yeovil in summer 2020.

Less likely to be on the pitch at the weekend is Dagenham midfielder Joey Jones, who is a doubt through injury for the weekend.

The midfielder spent his youth career at Arsenal and Leicester but having signed for Yeovil in 2013 after playing in a behind-closed-doors friendly he failed to make an appearance.

In January 2014, he was loaned out to Woking who he eventually joined permanently at the end of the season and when on to play 162 times for the Cards.

He arrived at Victoria Road, via Eastleigh and Salford City, in November 2020.

Other players with connections with both clubs include Paul Terry who joined Yeovil from the Daggers in 2003, going on to play 135 times in green-and-white.

Rhys Murphy, of course top-scorer at Huish Park for the past two seasons, had a decent 18 months at Dagenham between 2013 and 2015, and Mitch Brundle whose career began at Yeovil where he failed to make a start and spent the past two seasons with Dagenham before moving to Barnet this summer.

Another is Jake Howells who had six games on loan from Luton Town – remember him? No, me neither. Played a bit more for


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