Eastleigh v Dagenham & Redbridge preview: Form guide, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
(IMAGE: Graham Scrambler Photography)

Dagenham & Redbridge's third consecutive midweek away game entails a trip into rural Hampshire as they seek to narrow the gap between themselves and the play-offs by overcoming a defensively porous Eastleigh outfit at their Silverlake Stadium home.

From a Spitfires perspective, it's been a turbulent few weeks  characterised by several outgoings within the first-team picture, most surprisingly that of popular manager Ben Strevens. Lee Bradbury is a somewhat underwhelming replacement and the opening games under his stewardship have done little to negate that perception.

Ben House, Tom Whelan and Josh Hare are the most notable players to depart the club, with the latter being sold to upcoming opponents Dagenham for an undisclosed fee totalling five figures. His new employers will be seeking to regain ground on the play-offs after a damaging reverse against Notts County most recently.

  • Form Guide

Both teams suffered disappointing weekends, with Eastleigh losing 5-3 away to a Joe Sbarra-inspired Solihull Moors while the Daggers were edged out by Notts County at Victoria Road despite launching a late barrage.

The result was symbolic of Dagenham's recurring inability to defeat those around them in the table, although the fact they'd won all of their previous games this month by a 3-0 margin still alludes to a positive trend developing as the season enters it's most critical stage.

Eastleigh's climax will be far more inconsequential given their status of fifteen points above the relegation places but they will be hoping to exhibit better form than they've produced recently. They welcome the Daggers having won only once in twelve, a dreadful sequence that also includes the ignominy of being the only side to lose to Dover.

  • Team News

Ryan Hill, Michael Kelly and Tom Broadbent could miss out once again as Eastleigh's squad depletion continues, some youngsters making the matchday squad at Solihull for that very reason. Alex Wynter remains sidelined.

Daryl McMahon, meanwhile, has the luxury of a full compliment to choose from and a large one at that, with George Saunders (broken leg) the only guaranteed absentee. Josh Walker should be back in contention after not featuring since the York City FA Trophy game due to illness.

  • Predicted Lineups

EASTLEIGH | McDonnell, Camp, Boyce, Wilson, Harper, Smart, Silva, Miley, Hesketh, Pitman, Whitehall

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE | Justham, Vilhete, Johnson, Onariase, Wright, Hare, Comley, Sagaf, Robinson, Morias, McCallum

  • Ones to Watch

The front two for Eastleigh against Solihull Moors are amongst the most experienced in the division, namely Tyrone Barnett and Brett Pitman, both of whom have scored consistently at a higher level throughout their careers. 

Fuelled by the confidence stemming from opening his account for the Spitfires a few days ago, Pitman will pose a stern challenge to a Dagenham defence that has rarely looked comfortable this season. 

At the other end, Paul McCallum is a man whose qualities Eastleigh of all teams will be very aware of. He helped fire them to the 2018/18 play-offs by registering 27 goals in 43 games, and remains a revered frontman at this level despite not reaching those levels since.

Junior Morias has also been potent in recent matches, his relentless energy proving a real asset both when going forwards and enacting a structured high press on the opposition. Few would have anticipated the impact he's had since signing from King's Lynn.

  • Previous Meetings

The reverse fixture was one of Daggers' lowest moments of the campaign as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat on an aptly miserable November night. Danny Whitehall bagged the winner after now-Chesterfield midfielder Tom Whelan missed an earlier penalty.

Overall, results have been quite evenly-weighted between these two since Dagenham were relegated into the division in 2016, with four wins each and two draws.

  • How to Watch

Besides being inside the ground, the closest anyone can get to the action is through radio commentary.