DAG­GERS ARE GUN­NER GO UP

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

DA­GEN­HAM & Red­bridge have al­ready proven their pre-sea­son doubters wrong, but cap­tain Abu Ogogo wants to go one step fur­ther – by lead­ing the Dag­gers to pro­mo­tion the Arse­nal way.

Ogogo is one of three for­mer Gun­ners acad­emy grad­u­ates flour­ish­ing in east Lon­don – Rhys Mur­phy and Gavin Hoyte be­ing the oth­ers.

And the 24-year-old, who was ap­pointed cap­tain at the start of last sea­son, is out to do more than just avoid rel­e­ga­tion.

Last term the Dag­gers nar­rowly avoided drop­ping out of the Foot­ball League on goal dif­fer­ence and, in Au­gust, were once again tipped for an­other sea­son of strug­gle.

But this time round un­der man­ager Wayne Bur­nett, they sit just out­side the play-offs.

And with the Gun­ners in­flu­ence sharp­en­ing the Dag­gers’ ar­moury, Ogogo sees no rea­son why they can­not go up.

Favourites

“We’re en­joy­ing our foot­ball a lot this sea­son, there’s a def­i­nite con­fi­dence about the way we are play­ing and that comes from the style of foot­ball we try to play,” said Ogogo.

“We try to get the ball down – it’s the way we like to play and the way the boss likes to play.

“It cer­tainly helps that a num­ber of the boys have played with some top acad­e­mies. There’s me, Gavin and Rhys from Arse­nal, but there’s also Billy Bing­ham from Crys­tal Palace.

“I played with both Rhys and Gavin at Arse­nal, and the club are the best in the coun­try at in­grain­ing that style of play on you from a young age, they stress the need to play foot­ball the right way. “To say we were favourites to go down at the start of the sea­son...we’re not do­ing too bad, and I think the play-offs are a very re­al­is­tic aim.

“We seem to do much bet­ter against the bet­ter teams in the league – the ones who also like to get the ball down – whereas we strug­gle against the more di­rect ones.

“I think we’ve proven over the course of the sea­son we can mix it with the best, and with the league be­ing so tight a cou­ple of wins in a row will have you right up there.”

Ogogo has im­pressed since be­ing ap­pointed skip­per 18 months ago, but it is 23-year-old striker Mur­phy who has been hit­ting the head­lines since his move from Dutch side Tel­star in the sum­mer.

Phys­i­cally

The Repub­lic of Ire­land U21 in­ter­na­tional had 13 League Two goals be­fore this week­end and last month League One high-fly­ers Peter­bor­ough showed an in­ter­est in him.

Mur­phy turned them down, and Ogogo – who started his ca­reer at Wim­ble­don be­fore mov­ing to north Lon­don in 2004 – says he was re­lieved to see his mate stay.

“Rhys has done re­ally well since join­ing, and I couldn’t have blamed him if he had moved,” said Ogogo.

“Peter­bor­ough showed an in­ter­est in him but it wasn’t to be, for­tu­nately for us. He is a great player. Tech­ni­cally he is ex­cel­lent but it is his move­ment which stands him out from the rest.

“His main as­set is def­i­nitely the way he moves around the pitch. He’s quick phys­i­cally and in the mind.

“I don’t think there’s any­one like him cur­rently play­ing in League Two, so we’re quite lucky in that re­spect, but it’s not just him. For me Gavin has been our player of the sea­son so far, and long may it con­tinue.”

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