BRAINTREE Town will use their National League experience to manage the expected big Boxing Day crowd when they host local rivals Chelmsford City at the IronmongeryDirect Stadium.

Chairman Lee Harding said the club had got used to dealing with big attendances during six years in the top flight when hosting clubs such as Tranmere Rovers, Bristol Rovers and Grimsby Town.

And that experience would be put to good use for the post-Christmas action (kick-off 3pm).

He said: “We have been discussing this game since the summer as it’s one we always highlighted as being a potentially large crowd and we will have similar arrangements in place for games when we were in the National League top flight.

“There will be segregation, with Chelmsford fans at one end of the ground with their own tea bar and toilets and neutrals and Braintree fans will be at the Clubhouse End of the ground.

“The way I understand it, is that there won’t be segregation for the return game at Chelmsford on New Year’s Day, but it is easier to do it at Cressing Road as we have our A Grading from our time in the National League and we have managed games with bigger crowds by doing that.

“We don’t expect any trouble as we have never had any in all the years that we have been playing Chelmsford, but we are expecting a decent crowd.

“It’s difficult to say what size the crowd will be as the weather can play a part.

“We were expecting more for the Eastbourne Borough game, but it was bitterly cold that day and we only got 350, but it would be good to look towards the four-figure mark for a game against Chelmsford.”

Despite the bigger than usual crowd, Harding said home fans need not make special arrangements, but while payment can be made on the gate on the day, he did advise supporters to give themselves plenty of time ahead of the 3pm kick-off.

He added: “It’s just the usual advice to people when we have a game like this - don’t turn up at one minute to three and expect to walk straight in.

“If you want a drink before, then get there from about 2pm, but nothing outrageous.

“We’ve kept it as payment on the day rather than having it all-ticket as, from my experience, people often make late decisions on whether to go to Boxing Day games and we want to make it easy for fans.”