Npower League Two Preview: Plymouth Argyle v Dagenham & Redbridge

After a bitterly disappointing performance and result against Accrington at Home Park last week, in which the only positive was

Plymouth Argyle didn’t lose, John Sheridan’s Greens face a second home game in a row as Dagenham & Redbridge venture down to the

South-West. Argyle looked totally devoid of ideas last Saturday and there was a general feeling around that had Accrington not time-wasted and played for a draw they could have quite easily won the game.

Dagenham & Redbridge’s Recent Results

Morecambe (H) L 1-2

Wycombe (A) L 1-0

Rochdale (H) W 2-1

Morecambe (A) L 2-1

Accrington (A) W 0-2

Ones To Watch

Sam Williams

Sam Williams

Eight goals in the first half of the season has seen 25-year-old striker Sam Williams top the goalscoring charts at Victoria Road. A product of the Aston Villa academy, Williams gained first-team experience via loan moves between 2006 and 2009, scoring a few goals for Brighton, Walsall and Brentford. On his release from Villa, Williams signed for Yeovil Town. His two-year spell with Yeovil was far from successful as he only scored six goals in around 70 appearances for the Glovers. The last time Williams played at Home Park was in a Yeovil shirt back  on New Years Day 2011, when David Button saved his first half penalty. Williams scored three times for Dagenham in the first few months of last season and did not appear again in a Daggers shirt until the start of this campaign.

Luke Howell player that is enjoying a good season at Victoria Road this campaign is Luke Howell, 26. Midfielder Howell signed for the Daggers in August 2011 but made only a handful of first team appearances last season. This season has been a totally different story however as Howell has established himself in the teams midfield and contributed seven goals along the way. In his career so far Howell has been involved in a promotion from this division, with MK Dons in 2007-08, and a relegation, with Lincoln 2010-11. The midfielder recently signed a new contract at Dagenham, keeping him at the club until Summer of 2015.

The Manager – John Still almost nine years complete as manager of Dagenham & Redbridge, John Still is currently the fourth longest-serving manager in English league football, behind only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and David Moyes. He stepped into the managerial shoes at the then conference Daggers back in 2004 and turned them into the Conference champions little over three years later. After two seasons of consolidation in League Two, Still got Dagenham up to League One via the play-offs, beating Rotherham United 3-2 at Wembley. The Daggers fought bravely in the third tier of the English pyramid but could not avoid the drop back into League Two, where they were threatened by a second successive relegation for large parts of last season. Still has won 169 games of his 450 games at the helm of Dagenham, around 36% of his games in charge.

Past Five Meetings

21.08.2012 – Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – 0 Plymouth Argyle

25.02.2012 – Plymouth Argyle 0 – 0 Dagenham & Redbridge

15.10.2012 – Dagenham & Redbridge 2 – 3 Plymouth Argyle

22.04.2011 – Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – 1 Plymouth Argyle

23.11.2010 – Plymouth Argyle 2 – 1 Dagenham & Redbridge

The View From Dagenham

From Nick Murphy (@NickDRFCMurphy)

Heading into the game at the weekend, we’re not in the best run of form. After suffering two defeats on the bounce and four in our last six, we currently sit 20th in the form table. Somehow though, this is two places above you, our opponents on Saturday! Recent results have been a little disappointing, especially last weekend at home to Morecambe. Seeing as the Shrimps hadn’t won away since October and our home form is relatively good, most had it nailed on as a home win. Unfortunately, we never really got going and our tempo wasn’t where it needed to be. It was a nothing game that should have ended a draw, but two defensive lapses were capitalised upon to make us rue our missed chances.

In general we’ve been quite poor recently as our form suggests. We lack that vital urgency that we’ve had through the majority of the season and its showing. It also doesn’t help when we’re without a natural finisher following Gayle’s sale over a month ago. That will hopefully be cured though with the arrival of Ben Strevens on a six month contract on deadline day in his second stint at the club. His passion is shared by the fans and assuming he’ll go straight into the starting line up will give us an instant threat alongside target man Sam Williams.

Our away form has been very up and down this season as well. When we play well away, we usually win (to state the obvious). We tend to play decent football and cancel out the opposition’s midfield, allowing for time and space on the ball – this was evident at Accrington in the early part of January. When it goes wrong though, the match turns to one of two scenarios. Either the team are disjointed and it completely falls apart with defensive errors and a lack of communication, or the match turns out to be a boring 1-0 either way.

At the weekend I’m expecting a draw. Our last two games against Plymouth have ended 0-0 and taking recent results for both sides into account I can see the same again at Home Park. Both sides have a need for points so it should be tightly contested, the question may be, who wants it more?

As for our team I imagine Ben Strevens will come straight in for Jake Reed as we continue with a 4-3-3 formation. This will more than likely see Strevs on the right, Sam Williams in the middle and Medy Elito wide left. The midfield should be Luke Howell, Sam Saunders & Billy Bingham – expect Saunders to be the creative spark. The key player is left back Femi whose bombarding runs forward will cause problems for the Plymouth full back, whilst Abu Ogogo, Luke Wilkinson & Scott Doe are all consistent in their duties. Sean Shields may also make an impact off of the bench after coming on for his Football League debut last weekend.

My Opinion

I thought the 0-0 draw at Dagenham at the start of this season was the worst game of football I have seen in a while, until last Saturday that is. With many new faces in the starting XI Argyle struggled to thread even five passes together and never really looked like scoring whilst Accrington seemed hell-bent on time wasting at every opportunity – despite the fact had the game continued for another 90 minutes Argyle still wouldn’t have created a clear-cut chance. If Accrington had actually turned up to win the game – rather than a point – they probably would have got it. Instead they were pulling every trick out of the bag to waste time, my personal favourite being the player who was down ‘injured’ off the pitch to so heroically get to his feet, soldier back on to the pitch before proceeding to go down again about two feet inside the field of play. What a trooper.

Anyway, to the game Argyle are faced with, in which three points is a must. We simply cannot afford to many more drop points at Home to teams in the bottom half of the table. These are just the type of games Sheridan must be looking at to take maximum points from. After a strong debut Ronan Murray had a poor game against Accrington and went missing for most of the game. Reuben Reid held the ball up well and I’m sure he will net a few goals for us. I wasn’t sure what to make of Anthony Charles, he seemed a bit unreliable so I would prefer it if  Bhasera was to play there.

With all the new faces in the squad, it’s hard to predict a starting XI, but here’s one I like the look of;

I realise that it is a stupidly attacking formation, but I feel we now have the players to pull it off. The front four all have pace and we would be deadly on the counter. Reuben Reid also adds a physical presence and can hold the ball up and wait for support. Of course, it could just drop back into the standard 4-4-2 and for more defensive stability Blanchard could come in for Young and play as a defensive midfielder. This formation is wishful thinking from me really, I doubt it will be played unless we desperately need a goal!

With our last two meetings with the Daggers being goalless draws combined with last weekend’s dire showing, I can’t see this one being a thriller by any stretch of the imagination. However, Dagenham don’t seem to ‘do’ draws; they have only shared the points in a game five times since that awful 0-0 at their place in August, and have not taken just a point from a game since October. With only two wins in their last eight games, they are certainly there for the taking too.

After last Saturday I didn’t think this one would be anything different, but with the Daggers not tending to draw and in as equally poor form as Argyle, I think (hope) we could see a scrappy home win.

Score Prediction: Plymouth Argyle 1 – 0 Dagenham & Redbridge


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