Returning to the home of euphoria…

daggers1

Dagenham and Redbridge v Northampton Town

League Two

Saturday, September 9th 2014

Victoria Road was home to extraordinary scenes back in April as an Ivan Toney inspired Cobblers side produced one of the most memorable away days since our return to League Two and went a long way to ensuring that we stayed in the Football League. Now, with that status ensured and a whole new outlook in place we head back to a hunting ground that’s not just been happy but absolutely joyful over the last few years.

Town have won all four of their games at Dagenham and Redbridge’s home since they made it into the Football League, scoring six and not conceding once. Three 1-0 victories there led us to last season’s 3-0 epic and the Daggers will be looking to put all that to bed on Saturday afternoon. They’re not just going for their first home win over the Cobblers either – Town have dropped just two points against them (a 2-2 home draw last season) in the clubs’ eight meetings.

If they are to stop the rot they’ll need to out manoeuvre new Cobblers signing Ryan Cresswell who goes straight into the side in place of the injured Lee Collins. Cresswell is the closest thing we’ll get to a ‘marquee signing’ at the moment and his experience at this level should be a huge plus for Chris Wilder and co. Fellow loan signing Ryan Watson is also in the squad and should play some part but with Darren Carter also ready to return there’s plenty of competition in the middle of the park. Emile Sinclair is rated as “touch and go” whilst Danny Alfei will miss the game either through injury or, if not that, through a call up to the Wales Under 21s squad.

The Daggers are on a three game unbeaten run having started the season with back to back losses at home to Morecambe and at Burton Albion. A 2-0 win at Hartlepool ignited the campaign and they followed that result up with a home victory over Mansfield Town by the same score line. Last weekend, they came away from Oxford with a point from a 3-3 thriller in which Abu Ogogo netted the crucial equaliser twenty minutes from time.

The hosts have a few injury problems with Zavon Hines, Rhys Murphy, Christian Doidge, Billy Bingham and Josh Clarke all expected to miss the game. Jack Connors will miss the game after being called up to the Republic of Ireland’s Under 21s squad but Damian Batt could make a start after returning in the game at Oxford last week.

I’m cautiously hopeful about this one – Cresswell’s signing has increased the optimism around Sixfields and this will be a good tester for his debut. At the other end, a young man who came of age at Victoria Road last season will hopefully make a big difference again. Whatever has happened in the last few years goes out the window once 3pm comes around but we can still bask in the glory of this for just a bit longer yet…

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