Braintree Town may be better prepared to face Tranmere Rovers than they were a week-and-a-half ago, but boss Alan Devonshire isn’t underestimating the task that lies ahead for his team.
Having seen a waterlogged pitch sink an attempt to play their FA Cup first round clash at the first time of asking on November 4, the pair are due to clash on Tuesday night at the Amlin Stadium.
With the game set to be screened live in ITV4 (kick-off 7.45pm), it is undoubtedly the highest profile game in the Iron’s history and they are full of confidence after an impressive 2-1 win against Gateshead in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday.
That may not have been the case had they played on the initial date as the hosts would have come into the game on the back of a two-week lay-off after their previous league game was also postponed due to a waterlogged surface.
But Devonshire, who won the FA Cup as a player with West Ham in 1980, isn’t complacent about the challenge of facing a Tranmere side that still lead League One.
He said: “It was devastating to see it called off before as all the boys were up for it.
“They were looking forward to it so much, but we would have had a couple of weeks without a game if we had played it then.
“Now, we have had a good run-out against Gateshead and I think we will be better prepared for it now than we would have been.
“I’d like to think we will be sharper and fitter than we would have been and any rustiness was got out of the way at Lincoln last Tuesday.
“We looked better for it on Saturday, but make no mistake, Tranmere are flying.
“In their last two away games, they won both without conceding a goal so it’s going to be tough, but we can enjoy it.
“There will be a freedom to play as there is no pressure on us and I just want the lads to enjoy themselves and not let themselves down.
“Hopefully we can put on a good show and if a few things go our way on the day, then maybe we can get a result.”
Devonshire said he had no injury concerns ahead of the FA Cup game, but centre-half Alan Massey is cup tied after appearing for Wealdstone in an earlier round.
See www.braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/sport for a report, full reaction and pictures from tonight's game.