FC Halifax Town will face a side with new-found confidence in Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday, according to Ned Keating, sports reporter with the Barking and Dagenham Post.
The Daggers lost six of their first seven games, and followed up a run of two wins and two draws at the start of September with five defeats from their next six outings.
But they have since turned that kind of form on its head by winning six of their last seven.
“It’s certainly been eventful,” says Keating. “After a summer where very few players or staff remained, it took Dagenham nine attempts to finally win a league match.
“That victory marked the start of a three-game unbeaten run, during which the club announced they had been taken over by an American consortium that included former Everton keeper Tim Howard.
“Once that unbeaten run came to an end, Dagenham lost five in a row in the league and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Boreham Wood, before winning six of their last seven. So in short, it’s been up and down!”
Dagenham come into the game in their best form of the season, having won four on the bounce.
“They’re bound to be full of confidence after somewhat snatching a win at Hartlepool on Saturday,” says Keating. “There are no real injury concerns too, which is a huge plus ahead of a busy Christmas period.
“There seems to be a new found confidence in the team in recent weeks. Earlier in the season, they seemed to have something of a soft underbelly and would roll over too easily. Now, as recent results testify, they’re looking hard to beat and that has helped them win six of their last seven games ahead of Saturday’s match.”
Keating says many of players who came in during the summer when money was scarce have not been good enough.
“It’s been the players who have come in during the season, the likes of Angelo Balanta, Manny Onariase and Conor Wilkinson, who have made the difference in recent weeks,” he said.
“Though Conor Wilkinson has netted four times since joining on loan from Gillingham, Angelo Balanta has been an inspired signing.
“He links the play beautifully, creates space for other players and has the ability to conjure something out of nothing. It’s no coincidence the club’s form has picked up since he joined from Boreham Wood.”
Keating says Dagenham tried to play short, passing football to their detriment earlier in the season, but that they now seem happy to mix it up and go long when needed.
Manager Peter Taylor has named an unchanged side for the last four games.
Likely line-up and formation: (4-2-3-1): Justham; Nunn, Onariase, Goodliffe, Pennell; Robinson, Phipps; McQueen, Balanta, Munns; Wilkinson.