Captain Gareth Dean on the FA Cup and looking forward to the trip to York City (5 Oct 2017):
The draw for the FA Cup 3rd QR would have raised a few eyebrows and attracted some interest with two teams towards the top of their respective leagues (North & South), on paper it was a good match up. I think the build up to the game throughout the week was fantastic after the disappointment conceding late against Curzon. The work ethic in training was evident even more so than usual all week and there was a real desire and hunger to get back on the pitch.
In the game against Braintree, I thought we started with a great level of intensity and took a firm grip of the game early on. The midfield three were exceptional and an early goal always settles the nerves and it was nice for us to show a ruthless nature in front of goal - hopefully that will be a confidence boost for the attacking players. Obviously the only bitter point was the goal Braintree scored. It was disappointing not to keep a clean sheet as we pride ourselves on our defensive record as a group, so we will be looking to put that right next time out. Again, the gaffer will be pleased to see the likes of Ellis come back into the starting 11 and have an immediate impact. When the squad is so highly competitive for places it is important all players grasp the opportunities presented to them. Aaron Williams is another player who really buys into what the gaffer prides his teams on, work rate is a bare minimum expectation. Aaron has led the line brilliantly over recent weeks, hassling defenders and also finding the net on a regular basis. He will be an important player for us this season.
We now face Billericay in the next round which I'm sure will be another tough match, but one we will look forward to in front of our own fans. The FA Cup is such a fantastic opportunity for non-league football players to show-case their abilities and talent to a wider audience so no-one wants to give that up lightly. We know we are one win away from another 1st Round Proper tie, which for a small town like Brackley means so much.
First and foremost howe3ver we face York away at the weekend, which will be extremely difficult as they have now replaced their manager with Martin Gray. We know on our day we can compete with the best in this division and it is important we go there and come home with points to continue our impressive start to the season.