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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Match Preview

Dagenham & Redbridge vs. Walsall
Saturday October 16, 15:00, Victoria Road

It may be a little too early to call this one a six pointer, but two of League One's early strugglers clash in East London this weekend as Walsall travel to Dagenham & Redbridge.

The two teams are separated only by goal difference as they sit 21st and 20th
respectively. Both managers will know the importance of Saturday's game therefore.

For the Daggers - promoted from League Two last term - home form will be key to their hopes of survival in their first ever season in the third tier of English football.

They've made a promising start at Victoria Road, too, with wins against Swindon and Leyton Orient accompanying draws with Tranmere and Exeter.

However, at times, they have shown a difficulty against superior opponents - and a 3-0 home loss to Bristol Rovers is testament to what can happen when the Londoners aren't on their game.

Despite operating with the smallest budget in the division, Dagenham will be hoping long-serving boss John Still is once again able to help them punch above their weight.

One astute acquisition appears to be defender Romain Vincelot, snapped up from France, who has bagged five goals so far and is their leading scorer.

His threat in the air - particularly from the set plays so crucial to the Daggers - will be a main component of Still's men's attacks.

Early struggles have put Walsall's Chris Hutchings under pressure

The visitors will know exactly what to expect as they go in search of a first away win in five.

On the road, the Saddlers have already lost at Hartlepool, Rochdale, and Brighton, but did record a victory at bottom-club Brentford back in August.

After a comfortable mid-table season last term, it's been a surprise early struggle for Walsall - which has put the pressure firmly on boss Chris Hutchings.

Last weekend's win over Exeter in the West Midlands may well have saved the former-Bradford boss his job - but he can't afford a return to losing ways on Saturday.

They have certainly missed the goals of Troy Deeney - sold to Watford at the start of the campaign. Much of the burden has fallen on West Brom loanee Reuben Reid - who has notched four goals to date.

He was recently given funds to boost his squad with the loan signing of Barnsley winger Martin Devaney, and Hutchings will also hope for more from experienced striking duo Darren Byfield and Jon Macken.

It'll be the Walsall defence which may well be the key to a result though. If they can stand up to the aerial bombardment they will face then they will get a result.

It's a game the home side really need to win if they're to stay up, but they may have to settle for a draw in a tight contest.

Nobes' Prediction: Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Walsall 1

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