Cautious optimism, now there’s a phrase. And one that I’ve become used to over the past few season’s watching Dagenham & Redbridge. But this year it applies more than ever at Victoria Road as the 2013/2014 SkyBet League Two season approaches.
With a new manager and a new style comes renewed optimism – but only if everything clicks.
That’s the fear, that everything won’t click. And if that happens, where do we go from there? Well, at the moment I’m pleased to report from the two home pre-season friendlies everything looks rosy.
Well, within reason. We knocked the ball around well, and it has become clear that Wayne Burnett has instilled his philosophy into the players. But more than that, the players have bought in to it, as have the supporters.
Not only that but the standard of play seems to have improved on last season. Billy Bingham in particular appears to suit a more passing game in a 4-3-3 system. He compliments the engine that is Luke Howell in central midfield.
If our season is to be a relative success, that pair in the midfield could ultimately be key. When we’ve done well before, we’ve usually had two key and consistent central midfielders; both Howell and Bingham could bring that.
However, with every up there is a down. Despite it only being pre-season, something that I can’t stress enough, we saw how things can go wrong on Saturday after being defeated 3-0 by Luton Town.
Our forward options appeared non-existent as we failed to register a single shot on target. If that happens at Fleetwood on Saturday, then we really could be in for a pasting.
Accompanying that we really need a dangerous winger. If Daggers manage to secure the signing of trialist Zavon Hines then we really will be in business.
Released by Bradford at the back end of the last season, Hines really is a class act. His skill, pace and trickery make him one of the most dangerous wingers in the league.
I realise it may be a long shot as I imagine there will be other potential suitors, moreover he’s probably not particularly cheap. But his quality and experience could prove vital in the long run. Sometimes for real quality, you just need to pay that little bit extra.
If you’d have asked me three weeks ago my feelings towards the season, I’d have wholeheartedly told you we’re for the drop. But in the past two weeks, my mood has changed slightly. I feel cautiously optimistic for the new season.
The first aim is always to avoid relegation, but hopefully we can aim a little higher than that.
If our young wingers perform all we need is a consistent goalscorer. And if Josh Scott stays fit, then hopefully we’ll have found the missing piece of the jigsaw.