Friday, 4 March 2011

The Big Preview: Bristol Rovers vs Daggers

The Daggers are off to the West Country this weekend, to face 22nd placed Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium, the previous meeting ended with the Daggers being comprehensively beaten 3-0 at Victoria Road courtesy of a Jeff Hughes hat trick, but much has changed since then.

The first little look is at the recent results of the two sides. As always the opposition go first, the pirates lost 0-1 at home to Colchester United on Tuesday night that helped the Daggers out, but plunged the pirates into further trouble. The last Saturday game for them was away at Griffin Park, where they were defeated 1-0 courtesy of a Gary Alexander penalty 20 minutes in. Their games have been very tight of late with only one goal being the difference in the last three. The Daggers were last in action on Saturday, losing 2-1 at home to Bournemouth courtesy of a Danny Ings 87th minute goal to break the resistance in a game that could have gone either way. The Daggers goal came from Jon Nurse who is in good form recently along with Romain Vincelot. The last away game was at fellow relegation rivals Walsall in a dire performance that saw the lads lose 1-0 in the 82nd minute.

Jerel Ifil

Next look is at the form of both teams which has been patchy to be totally honest. Bristol Rovers haven't won since the 19th February with a great result against promotion chasing Oldham, since then they have lose both games by a goal to nil. They have endured a pretty torid couple of months, the worst being the 6-1 away defeat by Walsall, they have however beaten Swindon earlier in January which was a good result against a team also down the bottom. A terrible February saw them pick up just three points, leaving them 22nd in the form table, just in front of Plymouth and Swindon. Coupled with this is a dreadful goal difference, having scored an average five goals, they've conceded far to many; thirteen this month, a reason for their decline. On Tuesday, they were the architects of their own down fall, keeper Conrad Logan took a goal kick, which hit Jerel Ifil (brother of Phil) and fell to Kayode Odejayi who put the ball into the net. Rovers only created five chances and really didn't look like scoring against promotion chasing Colchester which I suppose can be expected. The Daggers have been unlucky of late, but as they say you have to create your own luck at this level. A gut wrenching 2-1 defeat at the weekend came on the back of a rather successful February, where eight points were picked up from eighteen which is very good return for a side at the bottom end. Victories against Brentford & Yeovil were the highlights, but a point at home to Huddersfield was a great result. The goal difference has been very good attacking wise, with nine goals scored but seven conceded at the other end of the scale. We all know what the Daggers weakness is, late goals, it happens far to often costing points that could well have seen us out of the relegation zone. The individual form of Tony Roberts has been key recently and as long as he stays fit and well we have every chance.

Scott Doe Should Return

Team News: Bristol Rovers will be boosted with the return of their influential captain Stuart Campbell who has been unavailable for the past four games. They have had an influx of injuries to defenders of late, with David McCracken and Byron Anthony both doubtful for the game, however Gary Sawyer should just make it into the team. The main threat for Rovers is that of Will Hoskins, the man who wears the number 8 shirt has been in fine form with eighteen goals in all competitions this season. They have also extended the loan of hitman Rene Howe who is on loan from Peterborough United. Of course we have to watch out for their number twelve, the shirt officially designated to the "Gashead supporters." A great initiative that gets everyone involved. It is unlikely the Daggers will stay unchanged, Scott Doe who pulled out of the squad late last Saturday should be back for this one, but the final decision will ultimately be made on the day. Other than that we should be unchanged, Gain should move back to the bench with Vincelot returning to his familiar central midfield this season. Once again we will be without Will Antwi who seems to have a never ending injury, whilst Josh Scott is out for the rest of the season with a blood clot. Phil Walsh could be back among the substitutes, he was at his sisters wedding last week so was unavailable. Our main man is Vincelot or Nurse from the outfield players, but Tony Roberts has been key in recent months with his fine form keeping the Daggers in contention to stay up.

Previous Meetings:-
Dagenham & Redbridge 0-3 Bristol Rovers      2010/2011
Bristol Rovers 4-1 Dagenham & Redbridge      2001/2002              LDV Vans Trophy
Bristol Rovers 3-2 Leytonstone (predecessor)  1947/1948              FA Cup

The referee for this game is Mr Carl Boyeson, the Daggers games he has reffed are:-
Carlisle United 0-2 Dagenham & Redbridge             2010/2011
Accrington Stanley 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge       2009/2010
Accrington Stanley 0-0 Dagenham & Redbridge       2008/2009
Dagenham & Redbridge 1-1 Shrewsbury Town        2007/2008

The linesmen are R J Corp & A M Turner
The fourth official is M C Dexter

My prediction is actually a 2-1 Daggers win, I feel that with the decent run of form we have been on prior to the weekend and that Bristol Rovers have been a bit shady recently so to speak, so it is very winnable. However saying that, it depends what Dagenham & Redbridge team turn up on the day and which team wants it more. I'm sure the Daggers will do us proud.

Come On The Daggers in John Still I Believe !!!

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