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League Two preview: Dagenham & Redbridge v Torquay United

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Dagenham & Redbridge boss Wayne Burnett hopes their run of fixtures over the festive period gets off to the best possible start when they host Torquay United tomorrow at Victoria Road.

Last season the Daggers headed into the same period on the fringes of the play-offs, and it’s a repeat scenario 12 months down the line.

Before tomorrow’s game against the Gulls, Burnett’s side sit in 10th spot in the League Two table, just three points off the play-off zone.

But many will remember the poor run the side went through, losing all three festive fixtures against Southend United (3-0), Port Vale (3-2) and Northampton Town (3-1).

And Burnett believes tomorrow’s game could be the ‘toughest’ of the period, which sees the Daggers face four games in the space of 12 days.

“Tomorrow is a really important game for us,” said Burnett. “We need to get back to winnings ways straight away but we are under no illusions how tough it will be. “Torquay picked up a great result against Southend last time out but we are back at home where we have had a good time of late and we’ll look to continue our good run.

“Their position doesn’t reflect some of the performances they have put in. but I feel this could be our toughest game of the period, they are fighting for their lives towards the bottom of the table.”

Last week at Oxford United, Daggers could only name six substitutes, with Medy Elito missing out with a dead leg, while Afolabi Obafemi was absent with an ankle injury picked up against Wycombe Wanderers.

Burnett believes both will be available along with Scott Doe, who served a one-match suspension for picking up five yellow cards, but Matt Saunders misses out.

The midfielder injured his ankle in the Essex Senior Cup against East Thurrock, though was named on the bench last weekend despite pulling up in the warm-up.

“We should be able to name a full bench this week,” he added. “At this stage both Medy and Affy should be able to play some part, but that changed late last week and we’ll have to wait and see until tomorrow. Matt misses out as does Billy Bingham.”

There is some good news as Burnett confirmed Bingham is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee medial ligament injury picked up at AFC Wimbledon.

“Billy will probably resume training in the new year and is ahead of schedule. It’s disappointing he’s been out for some time but that’s part and parcel of football,” said the Victoria Road chief.

Daggers squad will be tested to its limit with the run of fixtures and with that in mind, Burnett hasn’t ruled out tinkering with his side to get the most out of it.

“Every team is in the same boat, this period tests your squad to the limit,” he said. “As you know we haven’t got the biggest of squads in the first place but we will have to use the whole squad we’ve got as we try to keep everybody as fit as we possibly can and that might mean a few changes here and there.”

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