All you need to know ahead of tonight's trip to Essex
WHO? Braintree, nicknamed the Iron, were formed in 1898 as Manor Works for a local firm who specialise in steel framed windows, which is where the nickname Iron comes from.
WHERE? The town of Braintree lies in Essex, 10 miles northeast of Chelmsford, 15 miles west of Colchester any, going by the roads, 69.7 miles from Luton. The football team play at the Amlin Stadium on Cressing Road in the town and have done (in their various guises) since the ground was opened in 1923.
HOW TO GET THERE. Carefully punching in CM7 3RD into your preferred satellite navigation system should get you there safe and sound. If your brain is your sat-nav, you’ll know that you’ve got to head south on the M1, take the M25 clockwise, go north on the M11, leaving that at junction 11 and taking the A120 into Braintree. Alternatively you can head cross-country from Luton, going via Hitchin, Baldock, Buntingford and Bishop’s Stortford.
BOBBING ALONG. The Bobbers Travel Club are, as ever, running a coach to Braintree. Did you know that 33 loyal supporters took the Bobbers to the recent game at Gateshead, making up over 10 per cent of the overall Town following of 302? No, neither did we until we checked. If you want a coach driver to take the strain, why not give them a call on 01234 856542 and book your place. Their coach leaves the Maple Road car park at 4.30 and the fare is £19 for adults and £16 for concessions.
PAY ON THE DAY. Town fans have had the option to buy tickets in advance for this game, especially with seats limited. However, admission is available on the night at the Amlin Stadium. Hatters supporters will be open to the elements on the uncovered Quay End terrace if they choose to stand. Limited seats in the main stand are available. Click here for the full run-down of prices.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Braintree have issued the following information on car parking and turnstile admission ahead of this this evening’s game. CLICK HERE.
IN CHARGE. For the first time in what will be their third visit to Braintree, the Hatters will have a full-time manager in charge. On their first visit in April 2012 caretaker manager Alan Neilson took charge with manger-in-waiting Paul Buckle watching from the stands. Then, 10 months later, current Town boss John Still watched from the stands with Neilson again in caretaker charge following Buckle’s departure.
BOGEY TEAM. The Town have lost their last three matches against the Iron, including both games at the Amlin Stadium in the two fixtures mentioned above. But it started so well…the Town beat Alan Devonshire’s side at Kenilworth Road 3-1 in August 2011 but lost by the same score in April 2012 at the Amlin. Then, last season, the Iron did the double over the Town with a 3-2 win at Kenilworth Road and a comfortable 2-0 victory at the Amlin in February this year.
QUOTE TO NOTE. “I said to Terry in the car on the way home ‘phone Dagenham and tell them we’ve changed our mind!’” – John Still jokes at his Monday press conference reflecting on watching the Town at Braintree last season.
LUTON LINKS. Town academy graduate Newman Carney is currently plying his trade with the Iron. Luton-born Carney made two appearances for the Hatters – both in the FA Trophy – before leaving Kenilworth Road and signing for the Iron this summer. So far this term the left-back has played seven times for Devonshire’s side and played the full 90 minutes in Braintree’s FA Cup draw with Newport on Saturday.
HOW THEY DOING? The Iron are enjoying a very good start to the season and a victory tonight would lift Devonshire’s side above the Town in the Skrill Premier table. The Iron have 29 points from their 17 matches but have actually taken more points away from home (16) than at the Amlin (13). Braintree have lost just once in their last nine league matches – a record shared with the Town.
ON YOUR MARKS. The Town will need to keep tabs on home striker Sean Marks. The frontman has scored four times this season for the Iron and has scored in each of his last three games against the Hatters, including a nonchalant finish to open the scoring in the last meeting between the two clubs.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Hatters could welcome back captain Ronnie Henry and joint-leading goalscorer Andre Gray for the trip to Essex. Both missed out on the FA Cup defeat at Welling with groin and hamstring injuries respectively but trained on Monday. Manager John Still will check on their fitness before deciding on their inclusion.
STILL SAYS: “You must get sick of me saying this but it’s going to be tough, really tough. They’ve had a decent start to the season and their home form is good.
“I’ve known of Braintree for a long time and one thing you’d never say about a trip there was ‘this was good…’ – because it’s always been a tough place to go, it’s that sort of place. Newport found out that out [in the FA Cup] on Saturday.
“But’s great and I love it. One of the joys for the job for me is the challenges. People go to Braintree and get beat and the challenge for us is to go there and not get beat. The more difficult the game the better the challenge, so I’m really looking for to it.”
LIVE & DIRECT. We’ll have all the news as it happens from the Amlin Stadium. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it lutontown.co.uk, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds. And keep an eye on our Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts too for good measure #COYH.