Chris Wilder's notes from today's matchday magazine
It is good to be back home again today after what has seemed an eternity on the road. I think the last three games have epitomised much of what this set of players is all about. It has been a testing schedule with three tough games and a lot of travel but they have come through it with enormous credit.
In our last league game up at Fleetwood I thought we had an excellent second half and pushed a powerhouse of a team all the way. We put in a tremendous second half against the pre-season favourites and dominated the game and deserved to win, never mind draw.
That was a physical game and we lost Johnny Mullins and Michael Raynes the next week when we travelled up to Gateshead in the FA Cup. Senior players stepped up to the plate and it was great experience for the younger players. I was delighted with the attitude that got us through. I said after the first game that it is not how you play, or about winning plaudits for how you play, it is about having the spirit and resolve to get your name into the hat for the next round.
With 20 minutes to go in the first game against Gateshead how many people would have thought we would now be looking at a third round trip to Charlton? It looked a million miles away but we refused to be beaten and we got the job done. The game is not always about possession and passing the ball. A lot depends on you being clinical in both boxes and on Monday at Wrexham we were excellent in those areas. The goalkeeper made a couple of great saves when needed but it was a very effective team performance and the players stayed disciplined and stuck to the game plan that the staff had worked hard to implement.
That is what sport is all about, you can’t always be easy on the eye but it means that we, rather than Gateshead or Wrexham, will go to Charlton in January.
I was delighted with the attitude of the players. We have come through a tough situation and today I expect another very hard game against a side with a manager I respect. I played with him and like him and he is a very bright young manager who is doing an excellent job and I think he is a better manager than a player. There are different pressures at Dagenham but they are a good side and we want to keep the
momentum going to maintain the league position we are currently in.
I am hoping that Jake Wright, Michael Raynes and Sean Rigg will all be available again today, which will really strengthen our position but doesn’t guarantee us anything. What I will look for is another fully committed performance from everyone involved because I want to go into the New Year in and around the top of the table when the race really starts. There are four important games from now to New Year where we want to push on from this position, so give us the backing and help that you always give to your team as we enter what is a very important period.