HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford is all too aware of the attacking threat Brantham Athletic will pose when the two sides meet in the Thurlow Nunn League tomorrow.

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Third-placed Brantham, who are joint-top scorers in the Premier Division, have two former Hadleigh strikers in Ben Deacon and Josh Mayhew.

Deacon, who joined Brantham from Hadleigh earlier this season, scored four times as the visitors won last season’s corresponding fixture 6-0!

Brantham are currently on a ten-match unbeaten run in the league, while Hadleigh have won eight of their last nine league games, losing only at home to leaders Mildenhall, to propel the Brettsiders into third place.

The stage is set for a cracking encounter and Crawford said: “We should not have lost to Mildenhall. We were by far the better team, but missed the chances that came our way.

“In some games we have not played that well and still won, but we have not faced anyone yet like we will face on Saturday.

“They have got sheer class going forward and the way they play with three strikers (Deacon, Mayhew and Lee Grimwood) all coming at you along with attacking midfielders like Michael Brothers and David Grimwood, means they have been scoring umpteen goals.

“We have been strong defensively, but can we keep Brantham at bay? If they do what they have done to other teams it will be difficult, so we will have to defend well to keep their attacking threat under control.

“We have a lot of experience in our side now – players who have been used to challenging for titles – so they know what these games are all about. Hopefully that will show on Saturday, whereas in previous years we have had good footballers, but been young and naïve at times.

“Whatever happens won’t have a major effect on who wins the league, because there are so many games still to play.”

Hadleigh will be without Lee McGlone, who Crawford said was “outstanding” in last Saturday’s 4-1 victory over previously undefeated Dereham Town.

Also missing will be defenders Kris Rose, who is waiting for an MRI scan on a knee injury sustained two weeks ago, while Ashley Sloots, looks like he will be returning to AFC Sudbury.

Darren Moyes is set to play his last game of his loan spell before returning to Brightlingsea Regent, with Dan Heath still troubled by a shoulder injury.

On the plus side centre half Paul Donnelly is now fully fit after being blighted by injury and Danny Allen is back in the squad after breaking a metatarsal in pre-season.

Crawford said that losing Mark Maher, who was signed from Stanway Rovers this season, will be a “massive blow” when he goes abroad for six months at the end of November, although his departure will be offset by the return of fellow midfielder Liam Jennings after injury.

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