The Christmas Period is an important stage in the English Football Calendar, with games as regular as every two days.
With Dagenham and Redbridge on a four-game winless run, it seems the festive calendar has hit the squad hard.
Dagenham and Redbridge assistant manager, Darren Currie agrees that Christmas is a vital period and is hoping that the Daggers are able to exploit the rest of the period to their advantage.
“Traditionally it’s always been important, if you come through a busy period where there is a lot of games back-to-back and obviously the target is to come out with as many points as possible. So, that emphasises the importance of the period.” he said.
“We’ve got four or five games, including the start of January,” he continued, “and within a short space of time you can get a good amount of points that can really set you up for the start of the second half of the season. It’s a massive period for everyone, for different reasons, but certainly for us it’s the way we want to go.”
Season So Far
As a former professional and player for the club with over 600 league appearances to his name, Currie knows what it takes to succeed:
“I think we’ve been a bit patchy and a little bit inconsistent. There’s been games and half’s and little twenty-minute spells, where we have been breath-taking and ruthless in front of goal. There’s been spells where we’ve looked really solid defensively, but as a whole we’ve been inconsistent.”
“We’ve just shown in many of spells that we’ve got the attributes and we’ve got the qualities to be a good team and be a team up there competing for winning the league.”
“I think one thing that we’ve been discussing, with the manager (John Still), pretty much since the first five/six games of the season is about consistency and it’s still something we’re looking for.”
“If we can find that level of consistency, then we’ll give ourselves a chance with the run-in towards the end of the season.”
Home form is crucial for sides chasing promotion, and it is no different for Dagenham. With a home record of eight wins, two draws and three losses, the East London side hold the second best record in the division. Despite a 2-1 defeat to Eastleigh in the last home game of 2017, Currie was delighted at Dagenham’s home record.
“We’ve been good at home, there is no denying that. Whenever we’re here [the Chigwell Construction Stadium], we certainly try to attack and to score goals, so your home form is always pretty crucial. Every club would look at their home form as a good opportunity to get points on the board and we’re no different.
“We have been good here, albeit not-so great today. The work rate is always there from the boys, in my opinion whenever, I’ve been here a while now and, the groups of lads we’ve had here, I always feel like the work ethic is good amongst the boys in terms of running around and giving there all.”
“But the work rate that’s needed to keep the ball or find a bit of quality when you’re in possession we lacked in the performance in the game today and it’s ended up proving costly with two poor goals to give away, particularly the first one was just really poor to give away.” stated Currie.
Dagenham have scored 39 goals in 25 games this season, the joint second highest in the league. Currie believes that if they continue to do so they have a big chance to get promoted.
The current assistant manager also praised John Still for the style of play he has brought to the club:
“If we (were) to score 70 goals and get promoted, then that is all that matters at the end of the day. It’s about getting points on the board and we’re always going to score goals because of the way John [Still] wants to play, he is an attack minded manager and always has been and he always sets his team up to go and attack teams.”
“So it doesn’t surprise me that we’ve scored as many as we have and the tally of 79 from last season, I would certainly expect us to be in and around that amount, if not scoring more.”
The Daggers face a run of two home games against mid-table Hartlepool and promotion rivals Boreham Wood. Six points could be key in the clubs fight for promotion, as they look to end their current winless run.
With Dagenham being in and around the automatic promotion and play-off places, Currie conceded that you always have an eye on the table, so that you know where you are in conjunction with other teams around you.
“I think you’ve always got half an eye on the league table, you want to know how you’re doing in relation to the others and you look at the league table and start planning little routes to the top. If I can pick up points here and there, I think you naturally do that, but the league table will only ever reflect what’s happening on the pitch.”
“At the minute, it’s reflecting what we are and that is a little bit inconsistent at the minute and we keep threatening to go up two or three places and then we drop down two or three places.”
He continued, “I think what’s important is we know we’ve got good players, we know that we’re in with a chance and we’ve got a shout. I think if we can, even in bad moments, stick in and around the top four or five then I’m confident, and I am genuinely confident that we will have enough within our squad to have a real push towards the end of the season.”