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Maynard vows to "dig deep" ahead of Dagenham & Redbridge test

Stuart Maynard insists it is important to remain on an even keel amid a downturn in results.

The manager remains sanguine amid a run that has the seen the team follow up a run of four wins in the first five games with two wins in their last 12. He accepts that things aren't hunky-dory but he also isn't going to start throwing the baby out with the bath water, especially with his side two places above where they finished last season.

"There is still confidence in the group," he said, "but we are on a big learning curve right now. We all learned from the Notts County game and it provided something for us to aim at. That's the standard.

"You can go and lose seven or eight on the bounce quite comfortably in this division. Top teams do it. It happened to Grimsby last season [they lost 13 in a 15-game run]. You just have to dig deep when things aren't going right as the fixtures come thick and fast. There are no easy games, every game is tough and every game is tight. it's a bit of reality check right now, especially the other night. If we stick together as a football we will be okay."

Maynard's part-time resources are being stretched amid injuries to Ashley Charles (ankle), Nathan Ferguson (calf) and Max Kretzschmar (hamstring), three players who were instrumental in the flying start to the season. Winger Malachi Napa is out long term.

"We are hit a bit with injuries right now," Maynard said. "It's frustrating it's all happened in the same area of the pitch. We are trying to strengthen the squad to cope with injuries. We are trying to make a few deals happen, but we've got to make sure we bring the right players in and strengthen in the right areas."

The Stones play Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday in a game that pits 13th against 14th. The Daggers have won one of their last six in the National League.

"They are a top team and aren't a million miles away from the playoffs," said Maynard. "They've had a slow start and once they get going, I believe they will be right up there. They've got a big squad, a good squad and that's why they are just four points off the playoffs. Daryl [McMahon] has done a great job there and it's always a good game when we play them, good footballing games, competitive games. It's a good game for us to go and test ourselves. We are all looking forward to it."

• Pictures by Jon Taffel


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