Daggers midfielder Maher hopes to have seen last of injuries

Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Kevin Maher took inspiration from team-mates after injury hell.

Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Kevin Maher is relieved to be back in first-team contention after his miserable start to life as a Dagger.

The 35-year-old was only able to feature in 10 games last season after arriving at Victoria Road in 2011 and has been sidelined since January with a foot injury which required two operations.

But the former Southend man made a return to action in Daggers’ 4-3 Essex Senior Cup loss against Concord Rangers last week.

And Maher’s first reaction was one of relief at finally being able to return to the first-team squad.

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“It was nice to play a competitive game at last, it had been a while, but it is good to have it in the bank now,” said the midfielder.

“Since the first day I arrived at the club it has been frustrating. I haven’t ever been able to get going which is always disappointing when you are at a new club.

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“But hopefully now that is all behind me and I can get a run of games and have no further injuries.”

Maher was in rehabilitation alongside fellow Daggers Sam Williams and Matthew Saunders, who also spent long spells on the sidelines.

Williams and Saunders have made a successful return to the first team and that has given the midfielder a great deal of inspiration.

“All three of us worked very hard since we picked up the injuries, as well as over the summer months,” added Maher.

“Sam and Matt has kicked on now, they are both doing well and came back strongly from the injuries so hopefully I can do that myself.”

Manager John Still has often talked about the lack of experience and being able to call on someone who has played almost 500 games in the Football League is a boost.

Despite his absence from the pitch, Maher has always been around to offer advice to Still’s young charges, but he knows making a return to the starting XI will be difficult with the Daggers having plenty of options in midfield.

“It is a strong position of ours and all the boys in the dressing room have done well so you can’t expect to walk straight back into the team,” he said.

“You have got to keep working hard, football changes very quickly and you have to be ready to take that chance.”

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