Grimsby Town at Braintree: 'Iron will have to show mettle to defeat Mariners'
ALAN Devonshire insists his Braintree side will have to 'out-work' Grimsby Town to stand a chance tomorrow evening (7.45pm).
The Iron boss is preparing his squad for a televised game that he acknowledges will be one of the toughest they will face.
Devonshire says that, individually, his part-time players are 'not as good' as the Mariners, but hopes the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts when the sides come face-to-face.
"To have a chance we're going to have to out-work them as a team," the former West Ham United and England midfielder told the Telegraph.
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"We know what they're all about – they've got good players and they're a good team.
"We aren't going to be as good as them individually so it's about being a strong collective unit – we've got to be on it.
"We'll be about as full-strength as we can be for the game as we've only got a small squad.
"But I want us to have a real go at them and see how we get on."
After a promising debut Conference campaign last year, which saw the Essex club finish one place below the Mariners in 12th, Devonshire says Braintree lost four of their 'best players' in the summer, including Aswad Thomas to Town.
Those departures have contributed to what he describes an 'up and down' season for the former Blue Square Bet South champions, who sit 17th.
Contrast that with the Mariners, who strengthened in the summer before dipping into the transfer market again this month to help consolidate their position towards the top of the league.
And Devonshire has been impressed with the business joint bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst have done in the window.
He said: "Grimsby are going for promotion and they've brought in some top players and have spent a few quid.
"The business that they've done in January has been good.
"They've brought Richard Brodie and Ross Hannah in, who are two of the better strikers in this league.
"Brodie knows what it's all about at this level and he's won the league the last two seasons, so he'll be a threat tomorrow.
"They're definitely strong in the forward areas but they've got good players right across the pitch, so they're going to be up there or thereabouts come the end of the season."
He continued: "It's been an up-and-down season for us. We had a great season last year and we lost four of our best players in the summer. We always knew it was going to be a tough year for us, but we've done okay so far.
"There's always an added element to it when the cameras are there and I'm sure we will raise our game tomorrow.
"We're looking forward it and I'm sure Grimsby are as well."