Sparkes backs Iron's mental strength as play-off hunt continues at Luton (From Braintree and Witham Times)
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Sparkes backs Iron's mental strength as play-off hunt continues at Luton
Dan Sparkes is backing Braintree Town's players to have the mental strength to go all the way in the race for the Skrill Premier play-off places.
Despite losing their last two games, the Iron are still in the thick of the sides bidding for a top-five finish, but face the daunting task of a trip to champions-elect Luton Town tomorrow.
The Hatters have lost just four times in the league all season and only Woking have gone to Kenilworth Road and come away with three points, so Braintree are well aware of the size of the job ahead.
But Iron midfielder Sparkes, who returned from a wrist injury for their 1-0 defeat by Macclesfield Town on Tuesday, knows they have the mental strength to succeed.
He said: “The first priority was to stay in the league this season and anything beyond that was a bonus.
“On paper, no part-time team should be anywhere close to the play-offs but the lads and staff that we’ve got are unreal.
“We’ve got such strong foundations.
“We know we can achieve what we want and we’ve been talking about the play-offs ever since we had that long break (in January and February).
“The manager hasn’t been talking about it but the players have.
“We’ve been geeing each other up and it’s possible – it’s more than possible.
“No-one thought we could make it.
“I’ve had mates asking how we are doing it as we’re part-time and playing three times a week but the lads are together and that’s all you need.
“Obviously we’ve been tired, but that doesn’t come into it.
“It’s all about mental strength and I think we’ve got that.”
Braintree full-back Ryan Peters will have a fitness test ahead of the match as he looks to recover from the dead leg that has sidelined him for the previous two games, but skipper Kenny Davis and Sean Marks are both suspended for the trip to Luton.
The game kicks off at 12.52pm and is being screened live on the BT Sport television channel, but the Hatters have announced it will be an all-ticket match.
A consignment of tickets has been allocated to the Iron, which are available from the Amlin Stadium clubhouse, and none will be sold on the day.
Full details of when they can be purchased and prices are available on the Braintree Town website at www.braintreetownfc.org.uk
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