Braintree Town midfielder Matt Paine won’t give up on Skrill Premier play-offs

Matt Paine slides in for Braintree

Matt Paine slides in for Braintree - Credit: Archant

Braintree Town midfielder Matt Paine wants to get the Iron fans back on side as the north Essex club make a late surge towards the Skrill Premier play-offs.

Alan Devonshire’s 13th-placed team are six points adrift of fifth-placed Kidderminster, but have four games in hand on the former Football League team, ahead of today’s home clash with Aldershot.

Iron’s fixture list has been decimated, due to the inclement weather, in 2014, but they failed to pick up a point from two of their games in hand in the last week, losing 2-0 on both occasions to Lincoln City, at Sincil Bank last Saturday, and at the Amlin Stadium on Tuesday.

Despite their recent blanks, this season has proved to be another hugely successful one with the team, made up mainly of part-timers, punching above their weight again.

However, Paine isn’t content with consolidating for a third successive season in Skrill Premier and wants more people to come through the turnstiles and get behind a push for the top-five.

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“We will hope to get the fans back on-side and hopefully attract a few more to the ground between now and the end of the season,” said Paine.

“We are definitely still targeting the play-offs and with five or six games in hand on some teams, we are still right in there.

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“We would have liked to have taken at least three points from our last two games, but that’s three times we have lost to Lincoln now this season, so I think we are just going to have to consider them our bogey side.

“They are not the best football team but they are strong and physical and we could not deal with that.

“We can’t dwell on that though and we are looking forward to the Aldershot game and gaining revenge for the 1-0 defeat earlier in the season.”

Iron’s games in hand may look to put them in a strong position, however, the volume of games over the next couple of months looks set to stretch Devonshire’s side to the limit.

They lost Watford loanee Bernard Mensah in the game at home to Lincoln on Tuesday, the 19-year-old being the recipient of a late tackle from Tom Miller – a challenge that left Devonshire furious.

He looks set to miss today’s game but that, along with a gruelling looking fixture list which will see Braintree play seven games in the next two weeks, is not something the players will use as an excuse.

“We have got to embrace the games coming up,” said Paine.

“We can’t control the weather and the way our pitch plays.

“The league has set our fixtures out for us and we have just got to deal with it.

“Between March 29 and April 3 we will go to Gateshead, Southport and Halifax which isn’t very nice and the lads will be living in each others’ pockets for the next couple of weeks.

“But that will probably help us and bring us closer together.

“We are a close bunch anyway and we will be giving it our best shot in every game.”

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