Braintree Town skipper hopes Iron get back on right road with FA Cup win against Chesterfield
- Credit: Archant
Prospective London Cab driver Kenny Davis hopes struggling Braintree Town can get back on the right road, starting with their FA Cup First Round clash with League One Chesterfield, at Cressing Road, tomorrow (2pm kick-off).
Long-serving skipper Davis is planning for life after football and faces another test next week as part of ‘The Knowledge’ training course, which allows people to qualify as taxicab drivers in London.
However, he will encounter another tough examination before that when 1997 semi-finalists Chesterfield come to town, in a game that will feature on the BBC’s Final Score programme, featuring Jason Mohammed.
Iron will begin the game as underdogs, not only because of their lower-league status but also given their recent run of form that has seen them win just one of their last 10 games – the extra-time victory over Weymouth in the last round.
Davis can’t put his finger on why Alan Devonshire’s men, so often over-achievers since being promoted to the Conference Premier in 2011, have struggled to find their form this season, but insists tomorrow’s clash is a big chance for the players to put things right, against a side that are in equally bad form, with just one win from their last 10 outings.
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“It’s been probably one of the worst spells we have had since I have been at the club,” said club captain Davis.
“We have not been playing that bad, apart from on Tuesday night (home defeat against Grimsby), but we are just going through one of those stages that every club has.
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“It’s not going to be easy against Chesterfield. They are a good team that will be well organised and will be better opponents than what we are used to playing in our league.
“Fitness-wise should not be a problem though and I think it’s a good time for us to be playing them. It’s a home game for us which gives us a bit of an edge and Chesterfield will probably not like the facilities we have here. It’s eleven versus eleven and anything can happen.”
Davis played the last time Iron received such exposure, Braintree going down 3-0 at home to then-League One high-flyers Tranmere, in 2010, and says it’s an opportunity for players to make a name for themselves.
“I remember it was a good atmosphere that night and I think it was 0-0 at half-time,” recalled the midfielder.
“We were well in the game but they had a bit of quality and showed why they were top of the league at the time.
“Games like these are always good opportunities for players and you never know who is watching at the ground or on TV.
“We are all in the shop window, week-in, week-out, but it would take more than one performance and players have got to play well over a period of time. You never know what can happen though and I certainly think we have more than enough players in the team that can make the jump (into the Football League).”
Davis will class himself in that bracket but has always been conscious about looking at other avenues to support his career in what is a cut-throat business, and is getting to know the streets of London in preparation.
“I am getting towards the end of it now and I am taking another exam next week, but I take every situation as it comes, you never know what can happen in football.”
For now though, Davis’ thoughts are entirely on the Cup and the 26-year-old, who has scored five goals already this season, hopes Iron will have the backing of the Braintree public.
“The club in general needs a bit more support and what better opportunity for the people of Braintree to come out and support us, maybe bring their kids and, hopefully, come back in the future.”
Having been promoted last season, Chesterfield are currently 11th in League One and can boast Eoin Doyle in attack – the striker having plundered 15 goals in 17 games, in all competitions, this season.
The Spireites reached the semi-final of the FA Cup in 1997, the third-tier team eventually losing to Middlesbrough at Hillsborough, having drawn the first game 3-3 at Old Trafford.
What is the Knowledge?
The taxicab driver is required to be able to decide routes immediately in response to a passenger’s request or traffic conditions, rather than stopping to look at a map, relying on satellite navigation or asking a controller by radio. Consequently, the ‘Knowledge’ is the in-depth study of a number of pre-set London street routes and places of interest that taxicab drivers in that city must complete to obtain a licence to operate a black cab. It was initiated in 1865, and has changed little since. It is claimed that the training involved ensures that London taxi drivers are experts on London, and have an intimate knowledge of the city.
Applicants will usually need at least 12 ‘appearances’ (attempts at the final test), after preparation averaging 34 months, to pass the examination.