Maguire-Drew relishing Trophy tie with Worthing

Jordan Maguire-Drew celebrates a goal at Worthing last season.
Jordan Maguire-Drew celebrates a goal at Worthing last season.

Jordan Maguire-Drew says he cannot wait to meet his former Worthing team-mates in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Maguire-Drew scored eight times in six appearances for Worthing to help fire them to promotion into the Ryman League Premier Division last season. That impressive loan spell from Brighton & Hove Albion attracted interest from National League Dagenham & Redbridge, where he is now on loan until January.

The Daggers host Worthing in the first round of the FA Trophy on Saturday (3pm) and Maguire-Drew looks back fondly on his time at Worthing. He said: “If it wasn’t for Worthing I would not be at Dagenham today. I’ve got so much to thank them for, especially Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick, for giving me an opportunity.

“After Worthing got through, I was straight on the phone to Jon and had a bit of banter with a few of the boys.

“It’s a great club with some great people involved, I’m still in touch with a few of the players as well, and it will be an interesting afternoon on Saturday.”

Despite Daggers sitting two divisions above Worthing, Maguire-Drew is all too aware of the threat they will pose.

He added: “I was hoping to get along to their game with Three Bridges on Tuesday before the draw was made, so I’m sure I’ll have some banter with the boys. Worthing play some really good football and I’ve watched them this season already. Both Gary and Jon will have them well drilled and ready for us on Saturday.”

Maguire-Drew made a flying start to life with Daggers as he netted five goals in his first 11 games, but he had gone 13 matches without a goal until he netted a 30-yard free kick in their 2-1 win at Dover Athletic on Saturday.

The Albion loanee has been forced to play in a wider role, assisting team-mates on a number of occasions, in recent weeks and said: “I’m playing in a slightly different role out wide. I’ve been having to do more defensive duties but in the game at York, we won 2-0 and I got both assists.

“I’m happy with how things are going and there could be a possibility to extend my loan further with my deal coming to an end next month.”

Having been with Championship club Brighton since the age of eight, Maguire-Drew’s ultimate ambition is to break into Albion’s first-team: “Having seen the club grow, playing for Brighton would be a dream come true for me.

“I’ve been with them for such a long period and one day that is where I want to end up. They are flying this year, it’s well deserved and hopefully I’ll be part of that team in the future.”

Worthing have progressed past Kempston Rovers, Cray Wanderers and Hemel Hempstead to reach the first round and joint boss Jon Meeney said: “This is the type of game you want to be involved in as you want to play against this level of team.

“We can go there with no pressure on us and with no fear. We’ll look to take our game to them and show our quality.”

On facing Maguire-Drew, Meeney said: “He played a big part in getting us promoted and we’ve got a lot of respect for him, like he has for us. Dagenham is the next part of his development after his journey with us and he’s doing very well there.”

Arron Hopkinson is cup-tied but Worthing will otherwise have a full squad available.

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