By Peter Tscherewik
Tranmere Rovers travel down south this weekend as they face Dagenham and Redbridge at The Chigwell Construction Stadium, and will be hoping for a positive result to keep their title hopes alive.
Rovers won the reverse fixture 2-0 at Prenton Park with James Norwood and Ollie Norburn getting on the scoresheet, and Micky Mellon will hope that his side can take advantage of the Daggers’ current poor form.
Michael Cheek and Fejiri Okenabirhie are tied at the top of the goal charts for Dagenham, and have both scored nine league goals each this season. It is the latter who features as the Tranmere Talk one to watch from the opposition.
Okenabirhie started his career out as a youth junior with Premier League club Arsenal, before moving to Stevenage as an apprentice in 2012.
The 22-year old was a key played in the side that reached the fourth round of the FA youth cup in 2012-13, as he scored five goals in the competition.
Due to his young age, the player was often loaned out to lower levelled clubs as Stevenage was too high of a level for him to be able to gain good match experience on a regular basis.
Spells at Bedford Town, Farnborough, Cambridge City and Royston Town between 2014-15 haulted his progress at The Boro, and he only made three domestic appearances for the club before being released at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Okenabirhie had two unsuccessful trial periods at Millwall and Barnet following his release, and eventually signed for Ismithian League Premier Division side Harrow Borough in November 2015.
In his only season at the club he racked up an impressive ten goals from 34 appearances (all competitions), with eight domestic goals from 30 games.
Following his impressive season with Harrow Borough, the forward earned himself a move to Dagenham and Redbridge. Okenabirhie caught the eye in his first season at the club but much of his time was spent on the sidelines through injury, the player managed an impressive tally of eight goals from 33 appearances (all competitions).
The 22-year old has been a key player for John Still’s side in this Vanarama National League campaign, with a promotion push very much still on the cards this season. He remains joint top-goalscorer for the Daggers alongside Michael Cheek (both nine).
Dagenham struggled at Prenton Park in November 2017 as they lost 2-0, but Okenabirhie caught the eye of our reporters at the game as his pace caused stand-in right-back Jay Harris all kinds of problems when the ball was at his feet.
He comes into this weekend’s fixture in red-hot form, having scored two goals in Dagenham’s last match against Chester, in which they won 3-2. His recent efforts have also earned him a call-up to an England ‘C’ squad that will face Wales in a friendly on March 20.
He’s one of the men of the moment in the National League – @Dag_RedFC wing wizard Fejiri Okenabirhie scored another two goals on Saturday against @ChesterFC and this was his best pic.twitter.com/0ilcujj2Vu
— The National League (@TheNationalLge) February 28, 2018
Micky Mellon and his coaching team will be wary of the 22-year old, with his electrifying pace likely to cause a problem or two to the ageing Steve McNulty, should he feature after returning from injury.