I hoped that the Chesterfield game would settle the matter of play-off football, whether those hopes were genuine or not, but we’re still none the wiser heading into a big clash against Southend.
Ben Strevens’ men were nine points off heading into the Easter weekend and now that gap is closed slightly to seven – with a game in hand on Eastleigh who currently occupy the last play-off place.
However it is still imperative that the Daggers win the remainder of their games to be in with a late, late shout once more. That’s a very difficult task when you look at the run-in over the next few weeks.
The performances over the last weekend were by no means as inconsistent as we’ve seen earlier in the season, but they are nonetheless a sign of how this team’s performance level varies significantly from one game to the next – not a track record that fills you with confidence.
The most recent game against Chesterfield saw Strevens’ side lose 1-0 after being under the cosh for large parts of the game and offering very little in the final third.
There’s no shame in that defeat against one of the division’s best sides, but great frustration, as it was an opportunity for Dagenham to capitalise on dropped points elsewhere.
It is on that basis I feel the play-offs are a step too far for the Daggers at present, but treating each game like a cup final from here on in – who knows where it could take us!
The first of those is of course against Southend in a crucial showdown at Roots Hall, and however surprising it is after recent form, both sides are playing for more than pride with outside chances at the top seven.
After a winless streak in March consisting of seven consecutive defeats, the Blues have started this month a little brighter with back-to-back victories followed up with a draw at Woking.
Despite that poor run, this Southend side proved this season their ability to grind out results with their admirable togetherness and determination.
Moreover, they possess some real talent in their ranks, including the likes of Cav Miley whom Strevens helped bring to the club.
In terms of personnel from a Dagenham perspective, there has been a significant return for Elliot Justham between the sticks, however Matt Robinson is now missing from the middle of the park – perhaps for the rest of the season – likely seeing David Longe-King continue in that holding role.
Whoever lines up for the Daggers on Saturday, they are all fully aware of the task at hand and that only a win will suffice.
Hopefully the big away following will help get the players over the line and secure the three points!
Until next week, Come On You Daggers!