Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding has said he hopes Friday night’s pre-season game against Southend United won’t be affected by the arrival of a group of travellers on land adjacent to the club’s Cressing Road ground. 

The group turned up on Monday afternoon and Harding said it was fortunate that their game that night wasn’t against the full Millwall first team rather than a development side as that would have brought a bigger crowd to the ground. 

However, with the Southend game expected to generate a larger attendance, Harding said he hoped the group would be moved on before it. 

He told the Times: “Ultimately it will come down to what the police say but we’ll have a large disappointed and disaffected crowd of spectators who will have to walk a long way because they can’t park next to the ground if the travellers are still there. 

“It’s just fortunate that the game on Monday when they came was against a Millwall development side and not the full Millwall first team because that would have seen a much bigger crowd with the two sets of people coming into contact. 

“If they’re still there on Friday, I’ll request a substantial police presence for the game against Southend and I won’t expect for the club to have to pay for it.

“There is a doubt about the game with them there but I hope they will be moved on in good time.” 

See more in this week's Braintree and Witham Times.