Home matches for Braintree Town, Brightlingsea and Maldon & Tiptree
The Essex trio of Braintree Town, Brightlingsea Regent and Maldon & Tiptree all enjoy home advantage on another big weekend.
The Iron, fresh from a thumping 5-0 win at nine-man Bromley on Tuesday night, entertain Wrexham at Cressing Road in a National League encounter, while Ryman North table-toppers Brightlingsea play host to promotion rivals Thurrock.
Second-placed Maldon & Tiptree, six points behind Regent, are also on home soil against visiting Aveley.
The gloss was slightly taken off Braintree’s win at Bromley by a late red card for defender Ian Gayle.
As a result, manager Hakan Hayrettin was forced to dip into the loan transfer market yesterday, to replace the suspended Gayle for today’s visit of Wrexham. The Iron have recruited 19-year-old defender Frankie Musonda on loan from League Two promotion-chasers Luton Town, for an initial one-month stay.
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Hayrettin was very frustrated by Gayle’s red card at Bromley. He said: “He (Gayle) has taken the polish off a fantastic result. He has let his team-mates down, and I don’t know why he has done it.”
Hayrettin used to be a coach at Kenilworth Road, so he has worked with Musonda in the past – the young centre-half has made eight appearances for the Hatters’ first-team, since his debut in January 2016.
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His five outings this season have all been in the EFL Trophy.
Meanwhile, Brightlingsea will be hoping to extend their marvellous unbeaten run to 15 games, although they are set for a stern test against a Thurrock side who are fourth in the table, albeit 12 points behind their hosts.
James Webster’s men have won their last seven games on the spin, and not lost since a 3-2 defeat at Dereham on Boxing Day, with 12 wins and two draws in 14 games.
They are now hot favourites to win the title, and therefore secure promotion to the Ryman Premier.
The Jammers, the long-term leaders of Ryman North, remain in the shake-up for the one automatic promotion slot, although Kevin Horlock’s men might have to make do with a place in the play-offs after losing three of their last five league matches, including last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Bury Town.