The Wood are back on the road this Saturday, December 22 (3pm), when we travel to Braintree Town, in the Vanarama National League. Here’s our preview… 

Match Details 

Away fans are normally housed in the Quag End. This terrace was redeveloped in 2012 with a new larger terrace, that has a capacity of 1,408.

Team News

Luke Garrard has no fresh injury concerns to deal with, as the Wood came away unscathed from the draw with Halifax Town.

Danny Woodards was again missing on Tuesday night, but is hopeful of returning against Braintree Town.

Form Guide

Last time out in the National League, the Wood were held to a 1-1 draw away to Halifax Town.

Garrard’s side took the lead as early as the third minute, through Justin Shaibu, but the home side pegged them back, with a late goal in the first half.

The goal was Justin Shaibu’s fourth in just two matches, following his FA Trophy heroics against Torquay United last Saturday.

The draw leaves the Wood unbeaten in three games, heading into Christmas, with wins over Leyton Orient and Torquay United in recent weeks.

The match against Hailfax Town was the Wood’s game in hand and leaves them in 11th place in the National League, on 32-points.

Managed by 48-year-old Hakan Hayrettin, Braintree Town currently sit 14th in the National League, on 24-points.

They haven’t won in their last five matches, and lost last time out to Havant & Waterlooville, 2-1 away from home.

One to Watch – Billy Crook

A dangerous and creative midfielder, with a goal–scoring touch. Billy Crook netted 17 goals and provided 17 assists in his final season at Enfield and finished the year as the players’ player of the season, supporters’ player of the season, manager’s player of the season and golden boot award winner.

He started his career in the academy at Crystal Palace, before being handed a professional contract at Peterborough.

He would later move on to the Glen Hoddle academy in Spain, before returning to the UK and playing for Met Police, Dulwich Hamlet and Enfield, before Braintree snapped him up.

Crook has been one of their best players so far this season and will be key to their National League relegation battle.

From the Dugout – Luke Garrard  

“They are bottom of the League, but I know that Hakan has gone in there and steadied the ship to an extent.

“We know that it is going to be tough, and we have watched them at length. He picked a different shape against Havant on the Saturday before last, prior to the Trophy game, and he has shuffled the pack on several occasions.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in terms of what they are going to offer up, in terms of their shape and their personnel, but I know that they are going to work for him.

“I have seen that; they press with an intent, they have got good quality and they counter really well.

“They have got Justin Amaluzor on the left, who played for Barnet and Luton, they have got Billy Crook, who was courted as the best player coming out of the Conference South last year, Marcel Barrington through the middle, Ricky Gabriel.

“But, we want to pick up a certain amount of points in the next few games and that starts on Saturday.”


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