Fixture: Dagenham & Redbridge v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League Two
Date/time: Saturday, January 16, 3pm kick-off
Venue: Victoria Road
Forecast: 5C, sunny
Outs and doubts: Dagenham: Matt Richards (knee), Zavon Hinds (Achilles), Cobblers: Alfie Potter (rib), Lawson D’Ath (groin), Paul Corry (knee)
Betting: Dagenham 11/4, draw 12/5, Northampton 1/1
Form guide: Daggers LWWLLW, Cobblers WDWWLW
Avg. goals scored/conceded per game: Dagenham 1.0/1.8, Northampton 1.8/1.2
Likely line-ups: Dagenham (4-4-2): Cousins; Passley, Nosworthy, Dikamona, Worrall; Chambers, Raymond, Labadie, Doidge; Cureton, Muldoon. Northampton (4-4-2): Smith; Moloney, Diamond, McDonald, Buchanan; Holmes, O’Toole, Byrom, Adams; Collins, Richards.
Man in the middle: Iain Williamson has officiated one Cobblers match already this season – October’s 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Millwall. The 45-year-old Berkshire official has awarded 81 yellows and five reds in 20 games this term.
Last time out: Everton 2 (Kone, Mirallas), Dagenham 0; Plymouth 1 (Wylde) Northampton 2 (Collins, Richards)
Most recent meeting: Saturday, September 5, 2015 – Northampton 1 (Richards) Dagenham 2 (McClure 2)
Overall record v Dagenham: P11 W9 D1 L1
Cobblers connection: Former Cobbler Joe Widdowson has made 18 appearances this season and could well come up against his former club this weekend. The 26-year-old defender played 74 times during his two-year Sixfields stay before short spells at Bury and Morecambe were followed by a move to Dagenham in November 2014.
James Heneghan’s preview: We may have passed the halfway mark but, incredibly, Dagenham & Redbridge are yet to record a single home win this season, losing eight and drawing four, however after what happened at Sixfields back in September, Chris Wilder and co will not be taking this game lightly.
When the Daggers rocked up in Northampton earlier this season, they were rooted to the bottom of League Two, on just two points from five games and without a win all season, yet a brace from striker Matt McClure, aided by some fairly woeful Northampton defending, saw them come from behind and record their first ever victory at the 11th attempt over the Cobblers.
It was the day which could well shape Northampton’s season.
After that defeat, the Cobblers were sat a lowly 16th in League Two with seven points from six games, but in the following four months, Wilder’s side have enjoyed a remarkable run of form, winning 14 of 19 league games with just two defeats in that time, a run which has catapulted them right into the promotion mix.
And they head to London this week with fond memories of Victoria Park having won all five games in Dagenham’s back yard, not conceding a single goal in the process.
But after an energy-sapping, tiring week, this will be another stern test and one which they cannot take lightly, especially against an in-form Dagenham side.
Rejuvenated under new boss Jon Still, who’ll have extra motivation for this game after it was defeat to Northampton which resulted in his sacking from Luton Town, the Daggers have won their last two league games, at Stevenage and Exeter, to climb out of the bottom two.
And much like Northampton, they were also enjoying a fruitful FA Cup run which came to an at Premier League big boys Everton last time out.
The focus now switches back to the league and their battle against relegation, and Jon Still has an almost full-strength squad to choose for this weekend’s clash from with Matt Richards and Zavon Hinds the only absentees.
For Northampton, James Collins is a sure starter after his debut goal at Plymouth, particularly given he’s cup-tied for Tuesday’s replay, while Nicky Adams could come in for the injured Lawson D’Ath.
Confidence couldn’t be much higher in the Cobblers camp after Tuesday’s terrific win at Plymouth, plus the exciting continues to build for next week’s FA Cup replay with over 6,000 set to travel to Milton Keynes, but they must be wary of a resurgent Dagenham side this weekend.
Prediction: Dagenham 1 Northampton 3