It’s the eve of the ‘Strevolution’ and as the last of the new recruits prepare for battle at Altrincham, Dagenham supporters are full of excitement ahead of the highly-anticipated opening clash.
There appears a renewed optimism with a better side – man for man – going into this campaign than last time round.
One recent recruit is Lewis Page (formerly Trialist A) who I mentioned in a blog a couple of weeks ago, an exciting prospect down the left side.
He is a player capable of playing above this level but an injury-hit career leads him to Victoria Road, to again prove his worth, an acquisition praised by fans across the National League.
The latest recruit is striker Charley Kendall, in a position where we’ve been crying out for reinforcements and Ben Strevens has duly delivered.
There is a sense the outgoings up top last season have yet to be fully replaced, but Kendall’s signing on a season-long loan adds to the depth and quality required in attack.
Elsewhere, a player who has appeared on the fringes of the squad since his arrival, Sydney Ibie, has impressed in pre-season and earned himself a new contract.
This has been a welcome surprise and there is a sense that Strevens and assistant Lewis Young see Ibie as having the potential to be their success story in terms of player development.
Where Ibie fits into the current side with his desire to play higher up the pitch remains to be seen.
As for the rest of the team and how that shapes up, Strevens has experimented with formations during pre-season so it will be interesting to see the settled side on Saturday.
The main predicament will be in midfield where there is a healthy competition for places, and then throw in Conor Lawless (the midfield trialist who has impressed in pre-season) who I hope we get over the line.
What was perhaps the weakest part of our side at times last season is now by far the strongest.
The defensive side of things has certainly improved too, with Tom Eastman marshaling the back line. Hopefully David Longe-King is back in contention to play alongside him on Saturday.
Therefore it leaves the attacking question in the balance, and whether the likes of Inih Effiong and Kendall can hit the ground running, the former looking isolated at times in pre-season.
However if Ryan Hill can get back fit, recovering from a groin injury, he unleashes that creativity and goalscoring opportunities.
Irrespective of those minor concerns heading into the 2023/24 campaign, it has undoubtedly been a stellar summer of recruitment from Strevens who has lived up to the hype of the ‘Strevolution’.
There has been a clear reflection of his talk of higher intensity, energy and commitment on the pitch – the players look ready, the supporters are more than ready, and now it’s all eyes on Saturday.
Viva la Strevolution! Come On You Daggers!