BRAINTREE TOWN say they are pulling out all the stops to ensure the televised FA Cup showdown with League One leaders Tranmere Rovers takes place on Sunday lunchtime.
The modest Blue Square Bet League Premier Division club stand to collect a £64,000 broadcasting fee from ITV1, who are showing the first round tie live at 12.30pm.
But Braintree are a little nervous, after last Saturday’s game against Wrexham at Cressing Road was postponed less than two hours before kick-off following heavy rain.
They are receiving help from the Football Association to prevent a repeat.
Chairman Lee Harding said: “Things are coming together but the one variable is the pitch.
“It was in perfect condition before a freak downpour at 11.30am last Saturday in which an inch of rain fell.
“After the groundstaff got the sponges out to soak up the water, another downpour took place at 1.30pm and we were the only postponement in the division.
“We have had an enormous amount of help from the FA in terms of covering the pitch and they work with a company that specialises in such matters.
“We are mindful that we don’t want the game called off again that is of most concern to us.”
The postponement of the Wrexham game may have been a blessing disguise for manager Alan Devonshire (pictured).
He said: “We were disappointed that the game was called off but it has given the lads, carrying one or two knocks, time to get themselves prepared.
“Bradley Quinton and Sam Habergham were almost fully-fit going into the Wrexham game, but they should now be 110% fit which is a big bonus.”
Harding is hoping for a crowd of 2,000-plus on Sunday but admits the game emphasises the club’s need to move to a new stadium.
“One of the big challenges is trying to stage an FA Cup tie at our current location as there is only one road in and one road out,” explained Harding.
“Everyone accepts it is time to move to a new ground like many other teams have.
“The majority of the money from TV and gate receipts will be re-invested into the club to cover the cost of ground improvements.
“The prize-money is not money that we budgeted for so that will go in full to Alan (Devonshire’s) playing budget.”