Early start as Braintree Town aim to close in on play-off positions at Southport

Danny Cowley

Danny Cowley

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Braintree Town were having to off at the crack of dawn this morning, to make a 3pm kick-off at Southport, not that you will hear boss Danny Cowley or any of his players complaining.

The Essex part-timers will have travelled more than 480 miles by the time they arrive back at Cressing Road this evening, but they will hopefully have secured another three points too.

Iron are a point outside the National League play-offs, in seventh, but have four games in hand on Woking, Tranmere and Forest Green above them.

With a real chance of making inroads into the top-five, Cowley wants total focus and will not be looking for any excuses, despite what is set to be a tiring day for his squad.

“We’re departing at 7am, so that means some of the boys will be leaving their homes at 5.30am,” said Cowley.

“It is very tough but it is what it is – we are a part-time team in the National League, so we will be expected to play up and down the country.”

Such trips can really test the mettle of players, especially those that work nine to five during the week, but Cowley is confident his group have the right mentality to cope.

“We have got a resolute bunch of characters in the team and there will be no excuses,” he added.

“Southport are a full-time team and we know it’s going to be tough, but this is the start of three big games in a week and a positive start will do us the world of good.”

After today’s game against the Sandgrounders, Braintree face a home game with Boreham Wood on Tuesday, before they embark on another arduous trek next Saturday when they visit Barrow.

Today, Cowley will add a former player of his at Concord Rangers, winger Joe Gardner, to the squad, and has re-signed Ipswich Town goalkeeper Michael Crowe on loan, but the Iron boss is aware that other teams are strengthening too.

“You look at what you are competing with in terms of our nearest rivals and we have got a mountain to climb,” said Cowley.

“Tranmere have signed Michael Higdon from Sheffield United this week, and he has already scored several goals on-loan at Oldham this season, but we have got to remain in contention and, unlike other teams, there will be no pressure on us if we get in the play-offs.”

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