Devonshire wants to add more steel to Iron

MANAGER Alan Devonshire has everyone but striker Chib Chilaka (hamstring) to choose from ahead of today’s visit of Darlington in the Blue Square Bet Premier but admitted he would be looking to make further additions to his squad in January.

The former West Ham midfielder guided his side to six straight wins earlier in the season but suspensions and injuries have tested the strength in depth of his squad and the last five games have yielded just one point and seen the Iron concede 18 goals.

The Iron, who will face Newport County away in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on October 29, sit in 11th place, just four points outside the play-offs which, at the start of the season, would have been perceived as good progress by the part-timers.

However, expectations were raised following the club’s purple patch and the subsequent run of defeats and several defensive lapses have left Devonshire insisting his side is not strong enough.

“I will definitely be looking to do some business in January and I will be aiming to bring in two players at least,” said Devonshire.

“With people coming in there will probably be people leaving the club too so I will say at the end of the season how well I think the squad has done.”

Town’s latest setback was a 5-4 defeat at Kidderminster on Tuesday evening - a defeat that left Devonshire to hit out at some of his players who he admitted “don’t like criticism.

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Devonshire will hoping for a less dramatic affair when Town host former Football League side, 13th placed Darlington, at the Amlin Stadium today and the Iron manager admitted he would be content to take a 1-0 victory.

“I would be delighted with that, but at the end of the day we are playing another good side and are looking forward to the challenge,” said Devonshire.

“We have done okay against the former Football League sides this season and they (Darlington) lost to Barrow in the week so they are under a bit of pressure. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the Amlin Stadium.”

The Quakers went down 1-0 at home to local rivals Barrow on Tuesday, a result that left boss Mark Cooper seething at his strikers.

“If you put that many balls in the box and you don’t score you have to ask questions of the centre-forwards - and I’m asking questions of my centre-forwards,” said Cooper.

“There were a ridiculous amount of balls that went in there, over 40, we’ve got an amazing habit of finding space where the ball isn’t going to bounce instead of where it is going to bounce.

“If we had (York’s) Jason Walker tonight then we’d have scored four or five, he’s got another two tonight, but there we go.”

Braintree’s near neighbours, Chelmsford City, meanwhile have won four, drawn two and lost none of their matches on the road so far this season, ahead of today’s trip to Salisbury City in Blue Square Bet South.

Their hosts have the identical record at home and manager Glenn Pennyfather knows he will have to exploit every advantage he has at his disposal if he’s to bring the points back from Wiltshire.

After an unusual but beneficial training session earlier in the week, his team are fully prepared.

“We had ‘spinning’ on Tuesday at Nuffield Health & Fitness and it was a really good, hard session for the players,” Glenn revealed. “They were constantly on the bike, with the instructor taking part alongside them and we’re very, grateful as it will be really beneficial to us. It’s also great for team spirit, which is as high as it could be and we’re all like a big family.”

Chelmsford will host Gloucester in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on October 29.

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