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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
John's Still standing
By Pete Oliver

Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still
Still has a long association with the Victoria Road club
Dagenham & Redbridge have a long way to go to regain their status as front-line challengers for a Football League spot.

But it is a journey manager John Still is happy to make as he prepares to oversee the next stage of the club's planned resurgence.

Under previous boss Garry Hill, the Daggers knocked on the door of League Two as perennial promotion challengers.

The Essex men finished third in 2001, second on goal difference in 2002 and lost in the play-off final in 2003.

They also enjoyed their share of FA Cup glory but after so many near misses and Hill's decision to seek fresh challenges elsewhere, the bandwagon ran out of steam.

"It was a fantastic time which almost got them up, but as we've seen in lots of cases if it doesn't work somebody has to pick up the bill," Still told BBC Sport.

Garry Hill
Former boss Hill brought good times to Victoria Road

Still was that man as the former Barnet and Peterborough boss returned to Victoria Road following two earlier spells as manager of the club in its various previous forms.

When he got there the break-up of Hill's successful squad allied to a lack of funds to sign like-for-like replacements meant the need for a fresh start.

"The situation was that we were in quite a bad way, financially," said Still. "What we have tried to do is bring in younger players.

"Apart from Anwar Uddin from Bristol Rovers, who had not played for a while, every player has come from a lower level - from the Ryman League or Conference South.

"That makes it a tough job going up against players who have come from the Football League. But we work very hard on the coaching and organization side so that whoever we play, we have a chance of winning.

"Being an inexperienced side means we have little ups and downs. But we have done well against the top sides."

We have had horrific injury problems this season, but we feel we have progressed
John Still

Still, with the help of his coaching staff, has guided Dagenham into mid-table with the chance of bettering last season's 11th-placed finish.

"We have had horrific injury problems this season, but we feel we have progressed," he added.

"And if we had won four more home games we would have been right in the mix.

"We have produced two England players in Glen Southam and Craig Mackail-Smith and brought on another player and sold him for 50,000 in Tresor Kandol, so we feel we are improving this club all the time."

Still is poised to sign a new two-year deal and is hoping to keep the core of a youthful squad together for next season, although there may be covetous glances from League clubs.

Striker Chris Moore was courted by Hull City last season, while defender Shane Blackett is also thought to have attracted interest from higher divisions.

Still plans to make one or two new signings over the summer, although he admits that he will again be scouring the lower leagues for raw talent.

"We want to live within our means and if that means we have to have a player less then we will do that," he said.


SEE ALSO
Daggers boss agrees two-year deal
30 Mar 06 |  Dagenham and Redbridge


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