Marcus Garnham and AFC Sudbury out to secure Braintree Town scalp in FA Trophy

AFC Sudbury celebrate success in the FA Trophy at Maidstone United earlier this season

AFC Sudbury celebrate success in the FA Trophy at Maidstone United earlier this season - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Marcus Garnham cannot wait for AFC Sudbury to pit their wits against Braintree Town at Cressing Road in the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy this afternoon.

Against a side three leagues above them in the non-league pyramid, the Ryman North Division outfit go into today’s encounter against Conference Premier Iron as the underdogs.

“It’s a great opportunity for the club,” said Garnham, who has impressed since signing from Ryman Premier side Bury Town seven weeks ago.

“Especially for the younger lads like Scott Kemp, Ben Robinson, and Jordan Blackwell.

“The standard Braintree play at is extremely high, and everyone should enjoy the occasion.

“It is very much a case of sink or swim for us, but we’ve got to just get on with it, go at it with no fear and have no regrets.

“One thing we can’t come off the pitch thinking is, what if?

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“We’ve just got to go out there and do the best we possibly can.”

Sudbury have been on an incredible FA Trophy journey so far this season after knocking out higher-league opposition in Bognor Regis Town, Maidstone United, and St Neots Town.

The 2-0 away triumph over Maidstone was, in Garnham’s mind, the best result of that trio, especially as the Stones progressed into the Second Round of the FA Cup this season, bowing out to Conference Premier side Wrexham in a 3-1 defeat last weekend.

“The run we have been on has been great,” continued Garnham.

“The fans and players have loved it, but this will be a different test.

“Braintree will have quality, they will have work-ethic, and they will be more organised than most.

“One thing people have said to me over the years in non-league football is that there is a big difference in concentration levels between the leagues.

“Sometimes there might not be that much of a quality difference, but a higher team will be less likely to switch off, and these boys will be on it.

“They won’t want to lose in front of their own fans to a team three leagues lower, but it’s up to us to be on our game.”

Sudbury come into today’s game having lost their last two league fixtures to Wroxham (2-0) and Aveley (3-0) respectively, something Garnham joked as ‘perfect preparation’, but can draw confidence from a superb run previous to that which saw them win 14 out of 19 games in all competitions.

As for Garnham, he was named the November winner of the Ryman League’s Precision Golden Gloves Awards for his performances.

“I think I’m playing alright, there’s always room for improvement,” added the stopper.

“You should always strive to better yourself, and you’re never too old to learn.”

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