Dagenham and Redbridge haven’t done too badly in this season’s FA Cup; they have beaten Bath City and Walsall, both after drawing the first games. Walsall was another penalty shoot out success, which John Still’s men seem to be very good at this year, but I can’t see it going anywhere near to penalties on Saturday.
Reward for the Daggers’ cup endeavours is a home tie against Millwall. Not who I would have liked to get if I’m totally honest, their reputation precedes them and with our closeness to West Ham United it’s certainly not ideal, but I would have loved a Premier League side. No disrespect to Millwall but every club at our level hopes of getting a Manchester United or Liverpool at home, don’t they? We are no different and why should we be.
The FA Cup holds special memories for me, I remember the days when anyone could win it, not just the top four as its been for the best part of the last decade, another knock-on effect of the Sky era and Champions League money. I remember watching Coventry beat Spurs, Wimbledon stopping Liverpool doing the double, Wrexham beating Arsenal with Mickey Thomas getting a last minute goal, and the Daggers own exploits down the years – Charlton, Ipswich, and who says they cant beat Millwall?
They have a punchers chance, the guy who gets written off but has that one almighty knock out blow in his arsenal, he stands there getting battered round after round, and then when his opponent thinks he’s moving in for the kill, he lands the blow that shocks a nation. That is what the FA Cup means to clubs like mine.
It’s us, the underdog, against the big boys. A team made up of journeymen and young lads, fighting against teams with four times the fan base and money, who may, just may be able for one day live like kings and sip at the cup of glory.
There will be a few changes to the side which has played so well in the league in the last few weeks, and especially at Christmas. Injuries have forced two of them with Peter Gain and Kevin Maher both being out for up to six to eight weeks, although Abu Ogogo will return from his suspension. I would expect Christian Montano, the West Ham loanee, to miss the game as his loan is due to end soon. He’s been an excellent signing for since he’s been here and I would love him to stay for the season, but unfortunately I can’t see that happening.
Mark Arber has recently played his first game since his hernia operation but Saturday will be too early for him, a shame because the side will needs his experience sooner rather than later. Michael Spillane has joined on an 18 month contract; a great bit of business by the club once again as it adds to the overall strength of the squad. Spillane has been bought in to cover the absence of Arber and has played superbly at centre half alongside Scott Doe. However, the quicker the captain returns with his experience the better I’ll feel.
Up front Brian Woodall has to start – he’s hit a very good run of form, scoring goals and is very humble about the whole thing. Coming from as far down the non-league scale as he did, he took a while to settle which was to be expected, but since scoring against Bath in the First Round he’s been on fire. Another John Still gem.
I would expect a line-up like this - Lewington; Femi, Doe, Spillane, Rose; Green, Bingham, Ogogo, Nurse; Woodall, Scott. That side will give an out of form Millwall a real go on Saturday, and who knows we may even win to taste the magic of the cup for just a little longer.
Written by Anthony Hodgson, We Are Going Up’s Dagenham & Redbridge Blogger
Anthony tweets at @ahodgson72