BRAINTREE Town keeper Nathan McDonald is clear what the highlights of his Christmas football action are going to be this year.

The Iron shotstopper admits he can't wait for the back-to-back derbies against Essex rivals Chelmsford City at home on Boxing Day and then at the Clarets on New Year’s Day.

“Playing Chelmsford twice over Christmas is going to be great as they are going to be intense local derby games” said the Iron keeper.

“If you can’t get up for that then you shouldn’t be playing.

“I’ve played a few times against them and played under Rod (Stringer) as a manager when he was here and I’m expecting good games both home and away.

“They are doing well, the same as us so it will be good.”

Braintree headed into their festive fixtures sitting joint top of the National League South table.

Despite being a team that was only brought together by new manager Brad Quinton over the summer, it has been a tremendous first half to the campaign, but McDonald isn’t surprised by the success they have had so far.

He said: “When Brad got the job, I knew the type of players that he was going to bring in, so I knew we would get off to a good start, but not as good as what we have done. I think we have surprised people a bit by sitting joint top of the league.

“The FA Cup was a bit disappointing but I think it has been a good start, especially considering that we’re a new team.

“There are a few of us who came over from Enfield, but look at the starting line-up now and there aren’t that many in there.

“So we have had to gel and we’ve done that really well.

“It has been very quick because sometimes it can take a season or two to get that.

“Brad is a good manager - training is always very good and he gets us up for games.

“Look at what we did with Enfield, we were always in and around the play-offs in his three seasons there.”