Boss previews Braintree visit
For all the wrong reasons it’ll be a game etched in the memory of those who were there – but boss Paul Buckle wants to forget what happened the last time the Town took on Braintree.
The Essex side handed the Hatters a 3-1 victory late last March as Buckle watched on in horror from the stands prior to take charge of full-time.
“A lot has changed since that afternoon at Cressing Road,” the manager said at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “But it’s time to move on and look ahead.”
Indeed, a victory on Tuesday could put them joint top of the Blue Square Bet Premier come 9.30pm on Tuesday.
“That game is long gone,” Buckle said. “It was a reminder of what can happen in this league and we were massively undone that day.
“We weren’t at it – nowhere near it and we were punished. Since then we have come a long way in such a short space of time.
“I’m delighted with the energy around the place now. I’m sure the supporters can see it in our performances.
“There’s different qualities shining through. Work-rate, fitness and determination. We’ve added a lot to what was here before.
“Yes, there have been big changes and I’m always careful not to talk too much about them because you can use it as an excuse.
“We all needed a bit of time; the players and staff because it takes time to gel. It’s been about trying to improve and I feel we’ve done that. The important thing has been our points return because it shows are going in the right direction.”
The Town are in decent form having won their last three matches on the spin but the manager isn’t taking anything for granted when Alan Devonshire’s side head to Kenilworth Road.
The Iron lost a two-goal lead to lose at home to Barrow on Saturday and Buckle will ask his side to attack from the first whistle on Tuesday night.
“I’m always one who likes to concentrate on what we’re doing,” said the boss. “Braintree will come here with nothing to lose and make it difficult for us.
“Alan has done a great job there and our players are going to have to win all of their individual battles before earning the right to play.
“It’s important to get the first goal and kick-on from there. There is good consistency in our performances and I was thrilled with Saturday’s win.
“We must push on now and must not take our foot off the gas. We need to keep improving.”
Buckle revealed that striker Scott Rendell is a doubt to return from a dead leg that saw him substituted at half-time in the victory at Lincoln.
Jon Shaw, who scored in the Town’s second at Sincil Bank, could start having become a father for the second time on Sunday.
“Scott’s a bit sore still and I’m not sure he’ll make it,” said Buckle. “We’ve given Jon the day off but he’ll be back training on Tuesday morning.
“He’ll be buzzing, he’s had a great weekend and he’ll be expecting to start on Tuesday but all the strikers are doing well. There’s good competition for places up front, as there are in every other position on the pitch.”
Earlier on Monday the draw for the FA Cup fourth qualifying round pitted the Town against Blue Square Bet Premier Cambridge United.
And, while the manager was looking forward to the tie, there was no doubt at where his immediate priorities lie.
“It’ll be a special occasion and a great tie, but we’ve got big business in the league before that,” Buckle said.
“It’ll be a good challenge but there’s league points to play for before that and once we come around to it we’ll look forward to it.”