New signing Johnson could make Braintree bow

NEW signing from Dover, Matt Johnson will go straight into the Braintree Town squad when the high-flying Iron visit Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers Southport, today.

Town could go top of the league if results go their way and Johnson, who turned down a move to fellow Blue Square Bet Premier side, Mansfield in the summer, will provide a direct replacement for Merrick James-Lewis who has been recalled by League Two Southend

“He is full of energy and will get from box-to-box,” said Devonshire, who has also snapped up young full-back Aryan Taj who played in the Turkish Premier League for Antalyaspor last season.

“Matt is a direct replacement for Merrick, who has gone back to Southend. At the end of the day he is a young boy who is hungry and that is the sort of player I like to bring to the club.

“As for the full back, he played in the Turkish Premier League last season and we have signed him on forms and we are going to get him fit.”

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The Iron visit Haig Avenue having taken maximum points from their previous four league games.

However, Devonshire has been dealt a huge blow with towering striker Ben Wright ruled out after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the midweek win at Hayes & Yeading. Sean Marks is also a doubt with a gashed lip picked up in that game.

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Wright, in particular, will be a big miss against a team who Devonshire expects to provide a bruising test.

“They are big and strong and quite direct so we are in for a very tough game,” said the former West Ham midfielder.

“Ben Wright is suspended so that won’t help but we know we are in for a difficult test anyway,” who played down his side’s early season position near the summit.

“The only thing I am thinking about is getting to 50 points and getting there quickly,” he added.

Grimsby and Lincoln have already come unstuck against the Iron this season and Devonshire said teams must respect his side, despite their recent elevation from the Blue Square Bet South and their part-time status.

“You would have to ask the managers at the other clubs whether or not they under-estimate us,” he said.

“All I know is that you should always respect the team you are playing or you can come unstuck.”

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