TEAM PREVIEW: Dagenham & Redbridge – Mark Arber sees bright days ahead

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Dagenham & Redbridge certainly ended the season with more wins than they started, but couldn’t find any consistency. Rhys Murphy departed in January and they’ve since lost Abu Ogogo to promoted Shrewsbury, leaving manager Wayne Burnett with a tough job this season.

Last Season: League Two (14th)

Manager: Wayne Burnett

 

Squad

GKs: Liam O’Brien, Mark Cousins, Lewis Moore
DFs: Josh Passley, Jack Connors, Ian Gayle, Matt Partridge, Joe Widdowson, Nyron Nosworthy
MFs: Joss Labadie, Ashley Chambers, Zavon Hines, Jodi Jones, Frankie Raymond, Ashley Hemmings, Andre Boucaud
FWs: Jamie Cureton, Christian Doidge, Adeoye Yussuf, Mason Bloomfield, Matt McClure

 

Transfers

In: Nyron Nosworthy (Blackpool), Matt McClure (Wycombe Wanderers), Josh Passley (Fulham)

Out: Bradley Goldberg (Bromley), Jon Nouble (Released), Abu Ogogo (Shrewsbury Town), Brian Saah (Released), Billy Bingham (Crewe Alexandra), Scott Doe (Boreham Wood)

 

First Six: Portsmouth (A), Leyton Orient (H), Exeter City (H), Wycombe Wanderers (A), Stevenage (H), Northampton Town (A)

Likely Lineup: (4-3-3) Cousins – Passley, Nosworthy, Gayle, Widdowson – Chambers, Boucaud, Labadie – Cureton, McClure, Jones

 

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A word from…Mark Arber

On joining the club after a loan spell Yes, it was an easy decision, partly because I’d already worked with the manager (John Still) and knew many of the players from my loan spells. When I went back to my parent clubs (Stevenage and Peterborough) I’d kept in touch with John and having played in the team that helped get us out of the Conference, I knew he trusted me and wanted me to play for him. He had faith in me and that made the transition pretty easy. It’s a decision I never regretted.

On an upbringing at Totenham It was massive, even though I maybe didn’t fully appreciate it the time. The best way to describe it was like your school-days; what foundations are laid and how those days shape your life direction; and I went to one of the best ‘schools’ in the land, so to speak, in the Tottenham academy! That gave me everything I needed to carve out a career in the game.

I was there from age 10 until I was 21 so that’s one heck of an education. I learned so much from all the people I came across at Spurs. It was the best kind of teaching I could ask for.

On captaining the team to promotion It’s an honour, for me, to captain any side anywhere and I knew I had the right personal qualities to be a leader on the pitch. In those days, position, often dictated who was captain and with me playing in the spine of the team, I was ideally suited to accept the responsibility. It’s changed a bit now as a captain can play anywhere in the formation.

I had two ambitions as a player. One, was to make it to the top level as a pro – and I fell short of that. The other was to lead a team out and win at Wembley. I got that chance into my early 30’s, towards the back-end of my career, and I knew that the play-off final would likely be my one chance and I was determined to grab it. If you’re gonna go to Wembley as captain, you want to win. No way was I coming back a loser that day! I’ll settle for an undefeated record at Wembley!

On getting back to League One Yes, eventually, I do. I worked briefly with Wayne (Burnett) and know he’s a good man and they’ve got really good staff including my old mate Darren Currie. I think they are the right people because they understand the club, what it’s about and where the club has come from…what the culture is there. We were always a club that knew what we were and what we could achieve.

In my playing days it was a real ‘social-club’ environment where everyone mucked in and some of our younger fans need to appreciate how far we’ve come in 10 years. We’ve come from the Southern League to being an established League Two side, one that’s always tipped to go down every season by the bookies!

I live in Peterborough now and their expectations used to be the lower end of League One/League 2 and now look at them. They expect to challenge for the Championship. We’ve had a taste of League 1 and it was fantastic playing sides like Sheffield Wednesday in front of massive crowds. Our remit should be to progress whilst remaining sustainable and in touch with our values. Most of our fans are long standing and they appreciate that things take time..they’re a knowledgeable, realistic bunch. But, we should always be ambitious and look to regularly challenge, in time, for promotion.

On losing Ogogo and Murphy Goals are important of course and we still have Jamie Cureton and he seems to keep scoring. We’ve coped with losing players before..Medy Elito, Dwight Gayle. I think having a load of ‘troopers’ you can depend on is just as important. I played under Anwar (Uddin) and when I was captain he played under my captaincy, but there was no ill feeling or rancour.

We respected and liked each other enormously and I’m in regular touch with Anwar still. The point is, in my time I needed the Strevens, Saunders, Benson’s as my ‘troopers’ and they all dug in and fought as one team. I’m sure Wayne and his staff will want players there who get what Dagenham are all about and I’m sure we can find a few ‘rough diamonds’. After all Gayle came from obscurity and we were able to sell him, re-invest the money in the club. We want teams that come to Victoria Road know that they are going to be in for a real game. Yes, losing Abu was a shame but we have kept a core that should see us right.

On what it takes to get promoted Recruitment is always key and an experienced player like Nosworthy, who knows his way around the leagues looks like a great signing. As I’ve said, the spine of the team is so important. We had Robbo (Tony Roberts) and Benno, myself and others who took the team a long way. Undoubtedly, Wayne will have looked at this in detail and identified the experienced pros needed to support the younger lads coming through. That really is crucial for me.

I will say losing Scotty Doe was a blow but the experience that has arrived will be needed more than ever. There’s a lot to look forward to, two local derbies against Orient. I know Hendo (Ian Hendon – Orient boss) and he’ll have his lads fired up. There are bigger teams in this league and, as you’ve mentioned, the teams that have come up, and down has made the league harder. But we are an established side and we can finish in a good position and, if we keep doing things the way we have before, we can build further in time. It’s a challenge but, I’m optimistic that we won’t have to wait too long to enjoy more success.

 

The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: Wayne Burnett’s done a very good job but the loss of Ogogo should hit the team hard at a time where they’ll want to be looking up rather than down. One or two good signings may sway things but right now it looks a difficult task.

Key Player: Jamie Cureton – About as experienced as anyone around in the football league right now and still scoring goals for fun. With Murphy and Ogogo gone, there will be even more emphasis on him this season.

One to Watch: Jodi Jones – Made a break into the first team last season and has all the qualities as a forward to make an impact at League Two level.

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