The 2002/03 season at Victoria Road kicks off with a game against West Ham
United on Friday night. As usual the big question is what sort of team the
Hammers will turn up with. For the last few seasons its been a "West Ham
XI" which has featured a couple of familiar names and a bunch of
"others". This was certainly true last season when the Jason Broom Testimonial saw Joe Cole as the only household name and he only played 45
minutes. Also playing were Jermain Defoe, Svetoslav Todorov, Scott Mintoe, Gary
Charles and Craig Forrest.
This season though we are promised a first team, a product of the agreement
with the Hammers allowing them to use Victoria Road for reserve home games. The
fixture is certainly listed as a first team match on the Hammers website and we
will be looking forward to a decent strength side taking the field in the
The Daggers have so far played seven friendly fixtures, winning 5, drawing 1
and losing 1, (away at Boreham Wood on Saturday). The teams put out by Garry Hill up until
last nights demolition of Heybridge Swifts have mostly been experimental and it is clear that
the early friendlies were as much about looking at new talent on trial at the club as learning anything
about what this seasons first choice XI is going to be. Last night's team at
Heybridge was much more recognisable though and the 7-1 result will have pleased
Sarpong (left) and Sonny Nwachakwu (below right) have both impressed in their recent
games at East Thurrock United and Great Wakering Rovers with two goals apiece and may well have
done enough to earn
a contract with the club. Paul Bruce ex of QPR is also rumoured to be close to
signing for the Daggers, while the only confirmed new signing over the close
season to date is Steve
Perkins from Woking. Ross Johnson, a defender, formally of Brighton & Hove
Albion and Colchester United played and scored against Heybridge.
night saw Mark Stein's first appearance in a Daggers shirt for the new season
and he started where he left off with a goal. Mark has had flu apparently and
missed the early friendlies although he did find time to play for Chelsea in
the Masters indoor tournament. Ex Dagger Mark Brennan also played in this
turning out for Ipswich. Mark Brennan is still attached to the club in a role as PASE coach while having signed a playing contract with Billericay Town of the Ryman Premier.
Lee Matthews is still not quite there following his long term injury which kept him out for the whole of last season. Mark Janney and Mark Smith both have minor knocks that
have kept them out of pre-season action so far. Rumours of a Mark Janney summer kebab frenzy have been squashed by Dave Simpson.