Dagenham & Redbridge relishing first friendly says Rance

Paul McCallum (9) celebrates with Dagenham & Redbridge teammates after scoring against Wrexham

Paul McCallum (9) celebrates with Dagenham & Redbridge teammates after scoring against Wrexham on the last day of the 2021-22 season - Credit: TGS Photo

Dean Rance says Dagenham & Redbridge are looking forward to their first pre-season friendly at Aveley on Friday.

Midfielder Rance, having signed a new contract with the club, returned to training alongside the rest of the squad late last week, having made 57 appearances to date.

And after several days of preparation, Rance said: "Training is what it is, we're training, running, working hard, but we all look forward to the games.

"The testing has been done, now we can really start getting that fitness and sharpness back in the legs and start looking forward to Aveley.

"We'll all be looking forward to Friday and then going from there.

"We're all gearing up for the games that are coming up in pre-season and the main thing we get out of these games is that we get fitter, stronger, sharper.

"The end goal is to make sure at the end of pre-season the gaffer has got a fully-fit squad to pick from that is fit and strong."

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Rance endured injury problems in the early part of last season and says he has been impressed by the fitness levels in the squad.

He added: "I was injured at the beginning of the season so was always playing catch-up, trying to get fit, and it wasn't until towards the end of the season that I started to feel match fit.

"I'm over the moon to get it [contract] over the line and have a good pre-season, kick on this season and have a good one.

"All the lads have come back in good shape. We look strong and fit already."

Rance helped Daryl McMahon's side end the 2021-22 National League season with an impressive 3-0 win over high-flying big spenders Wrexham, who then lost the FA Trophy final and missed out on promotion.

And he says Daggers are setting their sights on the top end of the table this time around, adding: "From the teams that got promoted, we were just as good as any of them I would say.

"You look at Wrexham, last game of the season, the quality between both teams, you could see we were more than good enough to compete at the top.

"We've kept the nucleus of the squad and we're going to add to that I'm sure, so we're looking for an exciting season and we want to improve on what we did last season. 

"We should've been in the play-offs, we know that as a group, and we want to go one further than that.

"There's no reason why we can't be looking at winning the league. There's no reason, with the quality we've got in the squad, we shouldn't be looking at that.

"Play-offs is the main aim this season and that's what we're all striving to achieve this season."

Fixtures for the 2022-23 National League season will be released on Wednesday, July 6.