WHEN Dagenham and Redbridge come to Adams Park tomorrow it will be the 24th time that Gareth Ainsworth has led the team since replacing Gary Waddock in the hot-seat.
He has won nine, lost nine and drawn five so far and after an erratic start he believes his impact is beginning to tell.
He said: “Gary Waddock is a great manager and the Wanderers of two years ago were turning everyone over.
“But sometimes things just go a little bit off in football and you can’t put your finger on it. It had just started to go a little bit stale. Something wasn’t quite right.”
A 3-0 defeat in Ainsworth’s first game wasn’t the bounce the club were hoping for, but four days between his appointment as caretaker manager and the match was barely enough time for him to swap his kit for a tracksuit.
He said: “That was my first game in charge. I had four days and couldn’t really get too much done.
“We played 4-3-3 that day which we haven’t done too much of since. It’s no secret I like wingers and now we’ve got two wingers flying down there. They’re a big impact on our team.
“The spirit was on the floor and that’s changed too. We didn’t want any negativity around the club at all. If anyone is negative they’re not in this club. That’s the rule. You cannot be negative.
“The work ethic has changed, the way we train, and set plays...we’ve improved greatly on all those and the last ten games shows we definitely have made strides.
“We seem to have found our way of playing and we’re in good form.
“I don’t want to fall flat on my face and we get beat and people say we haven’t come anywhere. But everyone knows we have made big steps forward.
“I think the team now would give that team a real good game. I’ve got confidence that my team now is a better team than when I took over.
“There is still a lot of work to do and I’m relishing that. But the main aim was to get away from the bottom of that table.
“We’re not away yet, we need to keep working hard and striving towards mid-table.”
Expectation has certainly improved, and if Wanderers don’t beat Dagenham tomorrow it will now be seen as something of a shock.
Ainsworth said: “People will look at this and think we should be beating these. Football’s not always like that.
“Dagenham are a tough team and they have a way of doing things. I know what they’re going to come and try, but we will give them a better game and put in a better performance and hopefully people will see how far we’ve come.”