It’s a crazy league, says assistant Braintree Town boss Keith Rowland

BRAINTREE Town will be “giving it a go” at Blue Square Bet Premier promotion candidates Newport this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Assistant manager Keith Rowland believes that the Iron are not equipped to shut-up-shop and target a draw in South Wales.

So instead, the Essex club will be thinking positive, in an effort to spring a surprise.

“With this league at the minute, it’s a crazy league,” explained Rowland.

“I’ve seen Southport at Dartford play Dartford off the pitch, and then we go to Southport and absolutely hammer them (2-0 win).

“That’s the way this league is this year. Everybody has got to just hold their nerve at the football club.

“Newport are a lot stronger than last year. They have a good manager in Justin (Edinburgh), but we will give it a go.

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“We never go to places and just be negative, because I don’t think we have the players intelligent enough to do that.

“They are young boys just coming into the game,” added Rowland.

The Iron have escaped the relegation zone, following back-to-back victories at Southport and then at home to Forest Green Rovers (3-1) on Tuesday night.

But it will be a tall order to complete a hat-trick of wins at Newport, who have spent much of this season at the top of the league.

They are currently vying with Welsh rivals Wrexham, Grimsby Town, Forest Green and Luton for the one automatic slot.

Newport have only lost twice at home this season, and are fresh from a 5-2 hammering of Luton in their last league outing.

Alan Devonshire’s men will be without right-back Ryan Peters, who serves a one-match suspension for being sent off against Forest Green.

Rowland did not agree with Peters’ dismissal, for two yellow cards.

“To send off Ryan Peters was a very harsh decision,” insisted Rowland.

“It was a shame. We’re used to it at this place, though we haven’t had as many sendings-off as last year. We try and be cautious of that.

“Ryan’s red card was harsh. The fact that it was wide of the pitch, it was not a goal-scoring position, and never mind the fact that it was a perfect tackle!

“We’ve got a player suspended, and we’ve got a small squad, so that sending off will hurt us,” concluded Rowland.

Newport will have to cope without striker Christian Jolley, who has returned to AFC Wimbledon following the end of his loan spell. Jolley scored five goals in five games for the Welshmen.

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