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Crusaders take the way to Essex

Hungerford hop beyond cup rivals to Braintree

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Crusaders take the way to Essex

HUNGERFORD TOWN prepare for next week’s FA Cup home tie with Billericay Town by travelling to within 24 miles down the road of their opponents to take on Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League South on Saturday.

The game will give Billericay’s scouts an easy trip as they check out a Hungerford side that will be waiting on defender Matt Partridge after he tweaked a hamstring early on during last week’s FA Cup win Gloucester City.

“We took him off as precaution and will assess him on Thursday,” said co-manager Ian Herring, “but otherwise we have a full bill of health.

The only other absentee remains James Rusby, who had a setback a couple of weeks ago but is making his way towards fitness.

“He missed a lot of last season” said Herring, “played in our first game this season, but then got injured again.

“We won’t take risks and will nurse him back.”

Herring’s management partner Jon Boardman watched Braintree in FA Cup replay action in midweek while Herring took in Billericay’s 5-0 win over Thamesmead.

Braintree are sixth in the table, six points above Hungerford’s 12th spot as they bid to make a return to the National League top flight they graced from 2011 until last year, mostly under now Maidenhead United manager Alan Devonshire.

Six runs to the FA Cup’s first round and one to the second were topped when they finished third in the 2015-16 season before bowing out of the Football League play-offs 2-1 on aggregate to Grimsby Town, signalling a brief spiralling downwards.

New manager Brad Quinton has revamped the squad this term,  and their only two defeats have been high-scoring affairs on the road, 5-3 at East Thurrock and 4-3 at Hemel Hempstead.

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