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Interviews

Ardley previews Daggers

Boss on team selection, title challenge and more

9 February 2021

Neal Ardley says some who started Saturday’s Buildbase FA Trophy trip to Havant & Waterlooville may have done enough to earn them another opportunity to impress this evening.

We welcome Dagenham & Redbridge to Meadow Lane as our National League campaign resumes.

And team selection was high on the agenda when Ardley met the media ahead of the game.

“Absolutely, players from Saturday could be in my thinking,” said the boss, who may be without Calvin Miller and Matty Wolfe due to personal reasons.

The Daggers come into the game positioned 17th in the table, while we’re hoping for a fourth consecutive win to narrow the 13-point gap between ourselves and Torquay.

And, while the boss knows it would take a huge effort to challenge the Gulls for top spot, he says winning the title remains this season’s ultimate aim.

“With no disrespect to Torquay, because they have an excellent team and probably the most decorated manager in the league, we’re not even half-way through the season yet. We’re a long way from it and I don’t think we should be handing the title over.

“If Torquay can continue with the points-per-game ratio they’re on now, it’s going to be very difficult to catch them.

“But we’re certainly not writing off trying to finish top of the league. That’s got to be our aim.”

Ardley believes Dagenham have the players to provide a stern test for us this evening and, after citing his players’ attitudes as being key to him winning January’s Manager of the Month award, he’s expecting another professional display to keep the Daggers at bay.

“Dagenham have got a good squad, they’ve just probably not hit the heights they would have expected to,” he said.

“I think they’ll be frustrated that they’ve had inconsistency but, as we know, when a team comes to us with a gameplan and execute it really well, it’s taken us a while to get our noses in front to win games this season.

“I don’t take anything for granted. If we’re not at our best and full of our usual energy and zest, we’ll have a tough night.”

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