League Two betting preview: Clean up with cool Shrimpers


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The Independent Football

There's no such thing as a sure thing - especially not in League Two - but you'd have to search far and wide to find a selection that ticks so many boxes as Southend to beat Dagenham & Redbridge at Victoria Road on Saturday.

The Shrimpers have won nine of their last ten league matches and Daggers have lost 11 of their last 12. Those are the naked numbers behind this bet, but the case for the away win goes much further than the stats.

Perhaps the most damning result of that sequence for John Still's men was a 3-2 defeat at home to rock-bottom Plymouth on October 15 and confidence has ebbed away progressively since that day with four subsequent defeats each suffered by two clear goals.

It's a situation that has prompted Still to throw in the towel on 2011 in a desperate attempt to take some of the pressure off his players, admitting there's little he can do to change the course of their season until January when the transfer window re-opens and some of his key absentees come back to fitness.

With Danny Green and Romain Vincelot snapped up by bigger fish in the summer and others including Josh Scott sidelined by long-term injuries from the outset, it was always going to be a tall order for Dagenham to bounce back from the disappointment of relegation on the final day of last term but few predicted such an alarming descent.

Indeed, it's a measure of their predicament that the over-riding emotion in the wake of last weekend's 1-1 draw at home to Bath City in the FA Cup was relief. Bath are currently bottom of the Conference with one win from 19 league games and that's probably not an unfair yardstick of just how shaky Daggers look at the moment.

Southend, by contrast, possess bags of basement pedigree and have developed the Midas touch of late - they come with the reassuring imperfection of winning games even when they are not playing well. The Shrimpers have been slow out of the blocks on a few occasions in recent weeks but have still had enough about them to get a foothold and grind out the result they wanted in the end.

As their fans sense the beginning of something special happening under Paul Sturrock, they are snapping up tickets in their droves for what amounts to a local derby. With around 1,500 supporters expected to make the short trip along the A13, it could effectively turn this fixture into a home game for them and it's hard to envisage it being the setting for Daggers to arrest their slump.

There's a a golden rule among some punters along the lines of never backing away wins at odds-on at this level and perhaps Ladbrokes had this in mind when putting up their standout 10/11 quote. However, in this instance, it could pay to ignore such sweeping generalisations because our view is that Southend should be 8/11 at best.

Recommended bet:

3pts Southend to beat Dagenham & Redbridge at 10/11 (Ladbrokes)

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