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Daggers defender Partridge relishing unexpected chance

12:46 29 August 2014

Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham & Redbridge's Matt Partridge on the ball at Burton Albion. Pic: Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO

Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu

Daggers defender Matt Partridge is champing at the bit to keep his place in the starting line-up for Saturday’s match at Oxford United after an impressive start to life at Victoria Road.

The 21-year-old joined the club in the summer on a one-year deal after being released by Championship outfit Reading, and even he only expected to be back up to the experienced Damian Batt.

However, with the latter picking up an adductor injury recently, Partridge has come in and looked like ‘he has been in the team

for years’ according to Daggers assistant manager Warren Hackett following the 2-0 home win over Mansfield Town.

And while the right back is pleased with the start he has made, he knows there are tougher challenges down the line as he fights to keep his place in Wayne Burnett’s starting XI.

“I am really enjoying getting games at right back. I obviously came here to be cover at the start of the season initially, but I have been lucky enough to start games and I feel I have done all right for the team,” said Partridge.

“Damian is a great player as well, so when he comes back I’ll have to do my best to make sure I’m still first on the gaffer’s team sheet.”

Saturday’s battle against a

physical Mansfield outfit was in stark contrast to Academy life for Partridge at the Royals, and though it was tough, he admits he’s only going to come on leaps and bounds for the experience.

“In Academy football everyone likes to play it around, whereas here in League Two you come up against teams like Mansfield who pose a different threat to that and every game I am going to learn,” he added.

“The likes of Scott (Doe) and Brian (Saah) are experienced as well, so I can learn off them all the time and that’s great to have as a young player trying to make it in the game.”

Daggers not only go into Saturday’s game against an Oxford United side who have failed to pick up a point so far with back-to-back wins, but also having recorded consecutive clean sheets – the first time they have done so since December 2012. And Partridge hopes to add to the woes of the U’s under new boss Michael Appleton.

“I feel like we are playing great football at the moment so hopefully we can push on,” added Partridge.

“We go into every game feeling as though we can win, we are really confident at the moment. Getting wins can only increase that further. Clean sheets are a bonus as a back four and I feel the more we get, the more confident we will become as a unit.”

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