Braintree face step up in class at Macclesfield

ALAN Devonshire might be shopping for another new striker sooner rather than later if Dan Holman keeps up his stunning goalscoring form.

The 22-year-old has scored four goals in his first three games for Iron and will look to continue that run at Macclesfield, a side relegated from League Two last season, this afternoon.

Holman, signed from Histon last month, scored twice on his debut at Woking before getting on the scoresheet again in the home victory over Tamworth and the draw with Kidderminster at the Amlin Stadium.

Holman and loan striker Michael Gash are currently keeping fans’ favourite Sean Marks out of the team and the fruitful partnership which has so far yielded five goals could continue today.

However, chances could be potentially hard to come by this afternoon, so Holman’s work-rate and eagerness to chase down defenders – appreciated so much by Devonshire – may be vital at Moss Rose.

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“We had to be patient in signing Dan and I had a lot of pressure from various people telling me I needed a striker, but Dan was the one I wanted so I am glad we waited,” said Devonshire.

“He is 22 and very raw but has a great attitude and if he carries on scoring goals, then he won’t be playing at this level in a couple of years’ time.”

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Another former Histon player, Dan Sparkes is also beginning to establish himself in the Iron line-up having filled the void left by Jai Reason, one of Town’s most influential players last season, who has joined Eastleigh.

The 20-year-old is beginning to gain a good understanding with fellow new-boy Sam Habergham - the left back signed from Norwich to replace another top performer, Aswad Thomas who has now joined Grimsby.

“We are a young team and we will get better,” said Devonshire.

“Sparkesy (Dan Sparkes) is a young lad who is beginning to take on board what I want him to do and he is part of a team that wants to improve.

“Everyone talks about second-season syndrome and we know it is a big year for us, but we want to attack it and give it a real go, we don’t want to stand still. That’s the best way for us.”

Today’s opponents Macclesfield have won four and lost just one of their first five games under new manager Steve King and were indebted to loan striker Chris Holroyd who scored a hat-trick as the Cheshire side won 4-3 at Stockport in their last game.

The Silkmen – currently in fourth – have managed to keep the majority of last season’s squad together and, in Steve King, have a manager with a good pedigree in non-league circles.

He took Lewes from Ryman League Division One South to the Conference Premier, in five years, and guiding to second in Conference South in 2011 – a season after winning the Southern league title with The Yellows

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