Gulf in stature is ‘frightening’ but Braintree Town have no reason to be scared of Grimsby Town in their National League play-off semi-final
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Despite admitting the gulf in stature between Grimsby and Braintree is ‘frightening’, manager Danny Cowley insisted his group of Iron players have no reason to be scared as they begin their Wembley bid this evening.
The two sides go head to head in a two-legged National League play-off semi-final, with the first leg at Grimsby tonight and the return in Essex on Sunday, for the right to meet either Dover or Forest Green at Wembley.
Grimsby have been there before, losing to Bristol Rovers in last year’s play-off final having played in the Championship as recently as 2003. In contrast part-time Braintree have worked their way up the non-league pyramid on a much more modest budget.
While admitting the contrast in the size of the two clubs is daunting, Cowley believes his side go into the clash ‘in a good place’ having already beaten the Mariners on their own ground this season.
“The size and structure of the club (Grimsby) is frightening, it’s really frightening,” he said.
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“We turned up at Wrexham earlier in the season and looked at the size of the place, they are massive clubs, but there is no way we can be nervous of this.
“We know how good a team they are, it was a monumental effort from us to go there the other week and get the result and it will take that effort again to win over two games.
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“We are in a good place, the playing squad is as strong as it’s been and we’ve managed to get some key players back fit which is very important.
“We’re just regular people, bar one or two we’re non-league boys and we’ve finished third in the top division of non-league so it’s important we enjoy that because it might be a pinnacle for us.
“As a group we don’t know how to lose so we’ll be ready to give a really good show of ourselves.”
Despite a superb season, in which they finished third in the National League, Cowley knows his players will have to raise their game for the play-offs.
He said: “The players at clubs like Grimsby, Dover and Forest Green may have an ability to go to the next level in these games but I’m not sure our players can do that because they have been maxing out, they really have.
“I don’t know if they can find another level but I know they will be trying very hard.”
Tonight’s game kicks off at 7pm.