PREVIEW: Dagenham & Redbridge v Luton Town

Dagenham & Redbridge are certainly struggling to shift the tag of bookies favourites to get relegated so for this season.

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 30th October 2015, 8:44 pm
Mark Tyler and Jamie Cureton share a joke
Mark Tyler and Jamie Cureton share a joke

The Daggers go into Sunday’s game against the Hatters, sitting bottom of the League Two table, having just managed one win from their 15 games so far.

That came at now high-flying Northampton back in September, as Daggers have picked up six draws along with eight defeats.

One main problem has been the club’s home form, yet to taste victory in front of their own fans, with three draws and four defeats thus far, scoring just seven goals, although only conceding 12 too.

It’s on the road where the few moments of joy have come for Daggers as apart from that Cobblers triumph, they have beaten both Cambridge and Stevenage in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

There were no further signs of improvement at Accrington last weekend as Wayne Burnett’s side slumped to a 3-1 defeat, with first team coach Darren Currie bitterly disappointed in the players’ performance.

He told the club’s official website: “We find ourselves in this position with only ourselves to blame really.

“There’s certain games where we’ve lost or drawn or been in front and pegged back but I can come in here and be upbeat and encouraged by the way we’ve played in the game.

“But certainly Barnet away and the Accrington game was not the players and the squad we work with daily.

“I didn’t recognise any of them and they’ve been told very clearly by the gaffer and ourselves that Saturday was unacceptable and we must not allow that to happen.”

Daggers chief Burnett has tried to rectify the problems by using the loan market this week, bringing in Portsmouth midfielder James Dunne on loan for a month.

He also recently added QPR midfielder Jake Mulraney for a month too, as well as signing former Arsenal defender Justin Hoyte on a non-contract basis, with the 30-year-old once commanding a fee of £3m earlier in his career.

Team news: Luton will be without Ryan Hall, who is suspended for the match after his sending off last week.

Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (ankle) is also out along with Stephen O’Donnell (hernia), while Paul Benson’s neck injury makes him a doubt. Dan Potts, Sean Long and Craig Mackail-Smith are all expected to be fit though.

Top scorers: Hatters: Jack Marriott, Cameron McGeehan (7). Daggers: Matt McClure (5).

Milestones: Midfielder Cameron McGeehan is expected to make his 50th appearance for Luton this weekend. The summer signing from Norwich City is now in his second spell at Kenilworth Road and has already scored an impressive 13 goals.

Man in the middle: Keith Hill - experienced official who has taken 13 games this season, including six Championship clashes, showing 47 yellows and three reds so far.

Refereed 35 games last term, showing 128 yellows and four reds, including Luton’s 1-0 win at Plymouth Argyle.

His last Hatters match prior to that back in February 2009, when Town coincidentally went down 2-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge in League Two, when the hosts were managed by now Luton boss John Still.

Hill also took Hatters’ 2-1 defeat at Leeds in the Championship in February 2006 where he sent off Sol Davis in the closing stages, plus a 3-2 League Two home win over Northampton in February 2003.

The linesmen are Stuart Butler and Matt Corlett, with fourth official Paul Howard.

In charge: Wayne Burnett - 44-year-old who had a lengthy playing career including a spell in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers.

Also had stints at for Plymouth, Huddersfield Town, Leyton Orient, Bolton Wanderers, Peterborough United as well as Woking, Grays Athletic and Fisher Athletic.

After retiring from football in 2004, Burnett managed Grays, Fisher and Dulwich Hamlet before returning to Leyton Orient as youth team manager.

Became assistant to John Still at Dagenham in May 2009 and once Still joined Luton, was named caretaker manager, with his permanent appointment following soon afterwards.

View from the opposition: Darren Currie talking to the Dagenham official website: “At the end of the day the old manager is coming back and he’s done fantastically for the club in the past.

“There will be one or two old faces that left behind some great memories with our club as well so it will be a nice occasion in that respect.

“But we need to start winning matches and climbing up the table.

“Despite the way everyone feels at this moment we as staff still sit here and believe in these boys.”

One to watch: Matt McClure. Daggers’ leading scorer so far this season with five goals to his name.

The 23-year-old striker moved to Victoria Road in the summer after spending five years at Wycombe, netting 26 goals in 124 games, although did have loan spells at Burnham, Wealdstone and Hayes & Yeading in that time.

Friendly faces: Where to start!

Hatters manager John Still played for Dagenham before managing them twice, the second time a nine-year spell in which he led them from the Conference to League One, where his assistant for a large part was current Luton number two Terry Harris.

A whole host of Luton’s players have been at Victoria Road too, with all of them signed by Still in his time there.

Striker Craig Mackail-Smith was with Daggers after joining from Arlesey Town in 2004, netting 38 goals and earning a big money move to Peterborough.

It was a similar story for Paul Benson, who was uncovered from White Ensign in July 2005, bagging 82 goals for the club in almost 200 games until he headed to Charlton.

Danny Green was snapped up by Still from Bishop’s Stortford in July 2009, scoring 27 times in around 100 matches until he left for Charlton as well.

The list goes on too as defender Scott Griffiths was brought in from Aveley in August 2004, making over 200 appearances for Daggers, until he also headed to Peterborough.

Luke Wilkinson joined Daggers under Still in July 2010, named player of the year in 2012-13 and made 71 appearances, scoring six goals, until the Hatters paid an undisclosed fee for his services in July 2014.

Centre half Magnus Okuonghae joined Daggers in May 2007 from Crawley and played over 50 times, earning a move to Colchester.

Winger Ryan Hall had a brief loan spell from Crystal Palace as well, scoring two in eight games during the 2008-09 campaign.

Olly Lee also spent time on loan in the 2011-12 campaign, making 22 appearances and scoring three goals.

For Daggers, the connections carry on too as Andre Boucaud spent a difficult year at Luton, making just seven appearances until he was allowed to join Notts County.

He moved to Victoria Road in August 2014 and has made 56 appearances since, scoring once.

Another midfielder who struggled at Luton, Kane Ferdinand, making just one sub appearance, joined Daggers in the summer and has played 18 times, netting once so far.

Finally, on the staff at Victoria Road is Darren Currie who joined Luton on a free transfer from Ipswich in July 2007, making 38 appearances and scoring twice.

He left for Chesterfield and then finished his playing career at Dagenham, with 41 games and one goal, returning to the club in 2012 to become first team coach.

Played for both: Defender Shane Blackett started out his career with Dagenham, as he was signed by John Still from Arlesey along with Craig Mackail-Smith back in 2004.

He went on to play over 80 times for the club until a move to Peterborough, once more, with Mackail-Smith.

Moved to Luton on a free transfer in the summer of 2009 and played 51 time for the Hatters, scoring once, until leaving in July 2012.

We’ve got form: Hatters have never won in the league at Dagenham, with one draw and one defeat in their two previous visits.

They have tasted success in the League Cup, with a 2-1 win back in 2007 thanks to Matt Spring’s penalty and Drew Talbot’s strike.

Luton also lost in the Football League Trophy way back in 2001 too, going down 3-2, with Dean Brennan and Peter Thomson scoring.

Last time out: Hatters were held to a goalless draw at Victoria Road last season having to play almost an hour with 10 men as Paul Benson was shown red for a high foot.

Luton couldn’t find a way though afterwards, with goalkeeper Elliot Justham producing a fine performance to ensure the visitors left with a point.

Hatters: Elliot Justham, Michael Harriman, Scott Griffiths, Steve McNulty, Luke Wilkinson, Jonathan Smith, Nathan Doyle (Shaun Whalley 27, Mark Cullen 66), Ryan Hall (Luke Guttridge 45), Cameron McGeehan, Paul Benson, Elliot Lee.

Subs not used: Craig King, Alex Lacey, Jake Howells, Lewis Kinsella.

Referee: Darren Sheldrake.

Attendance: 2,461.