WITH three defeats from their last three visits, the less than snappily-titled London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium is not exactly a happy hunting ground for Bradford City.
Hence why manager Phil Parkinson is urging his players to today put their “bodies on the line” as the Bantams look to end on a high what has, results wise, been a disappointing week.
An undeserved home defeat against Port Vale was followed by a goalless draw against 10-man Rochdale in midweek as City slipped to seventh in the table.
Now, as Bradford continue what will be a busy month that includes ties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and Capital One Cup, Parkinson is calling on his side to dig deep into their resolve against an opposing side who have built a reputation for pushing teams to the limit.
He said: “The lads must be aware that Dagenham away is about putting your bodies on the line first and foremost. Dagenham won’t change their way of playing.
“They are a decent side who were a League One team the year before last. They have been up there, where we haven’t. So we won’t go there thinking about ‘little old Dagenham’. We know they can be a force at this level and must make sure we are ready.”
Dagenham & Redbridge sit 19th in the table with eight points from 10 games but go into today’s fixture boosted by a win over Wycombe Wanderers and a draw against Port Vale in their last two outings.
John Still, a managerial target for Bradford in the past, has worked wonders at Dagenham since taking charge in 2004. He led the club to promotion from the Conference three years later and then into League One in 2010.
The Daggers may have only lasted one season in the third tier but their physical style and commitment sets the club apart from many of their League Two brethren.
City make the trip to Essex without Kyel Reid, who has been ruled out for six weeks with the groin injury the winger sustained in the midweek draw at Rochdale.
Reid’s absence means Parkinson will be forced to make at least one change with Garry Thompson or Zavon Hines hoping to get the nod for a game that is likely to see Bradford also missing Gary Jones with a back complaint.