Defender: Braintree Town can cause Cup shock
TOWERING defender Adam Bailey-Dennis has warned League One Tranmere Rovers not to take Braintree Town lightly when the teams clash in Sunday’s televised FA Cup First Round clash at the Amlin Stadium.
The Birkenhead side are currently 67 places above Alan Devonshire’s Blue Square Bet Premier side, in joint-first position, having won nine of their opening league 15 games.
Iron, who finished in their highest-ever position last season, in their first campaign at Blue Square Bet Premier level, have struggled to replicate that form so far and sit just one point above the drop-zone.
However, two encouraging league performances, in a 0-0- draw at Hereford and a 3-2 victory at second-top Luton Town, suggest better times could be around the corner for the part-timers from north Essex.
Bailey-Dennis, 22, is certainly of that opinion and believes Iron’s recent displays should make Ronnie Moore’s side sit up and take notice.
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“We have got to give Tranmere a bit of respect,” said the former Colchester United youngster.
“But we are not in Blue Square Bet Premier for no reason and you look at the likes of Luton and Wrexham, both former Football League clubs, who have struggled for a few seasons now to get back.
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“That shows what a good league we are in and we showed what we are capable of when we went to Luton recently and won 3-2.
“We finished in our highest-ever position last season and I think we have a chance at the weekend.”
Bailey-Dennis is a former Colchester United reserve team player and, with youth on his side, is desperate to have another crack at the Football League.
And the rangy centre-back, who has made 12 appearances for Town this season believes Sunday’s televised clash with Rovers is the ideal opportunity for Iron’s youthful team to impress.
“There are not many players over 24 in the team so it’s a massive opportunity for the lads to impress in front of the TV cameras,” said Bailey-Dennis.
“Everyone with a TV in Britain has ITV and this is a chance for the players to prove that we can perform well against teams from higher divisions.
“If we can do that and people from clubs from higher leagues see, then we won’t represent as much of a gamble if teams come in for us.
“This is a big game but if the players struggle to get up for any match, then they shouldn’t be playing football.”
Sunday’s game will be Iron’s first for over a fortnight and the 3-2 Fourth Round Qualifying win against Lowestoft on October 20.
In that same period, Tranmere have picked up just one point from nine on offer and now share top spot with Sheffield United.
They are, however, free-scorers and in Jake Cassidy and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, possess two of League One’s top three scorers.
“You don’t get a bigger stage than this,” said Bailey-Dennis.
“It’s been a great buzz for the lads with the cameras being down at the ground and the media attention we have been receiving.
“They have scored a lot of goals this season and we have been working on our shape and how we think they will set up and where we think they are dangerous from set-pieces and such things.
“But we must concentrate on ourselves too. It’s a big game for the town, the players, the management and the fans and we must give 110%.”