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Braintree in The Play-Offs - Reaction

30 April 2016

Braintree Town have now been confirmed as our play-off semi-final opponents - here's reaction from Paul Hurst

Click here to listen to Paul Hurst's full post match interview at Tranmere today. 
With the regular season now over, Paul Hurst is looking forward to taking on Braintree Town in the play-off semi finals, starting with the first leg at Blundell Park on Thursday night.

Speaking after the 1-0 end of season defeat to Tranmere, in which Town might eight changes to prepare for next week, the Town boss said:"As you would expect I'm going to say they'll be difficult opponents because it should be when you are in the play-offs. They've had a fantastic season, all credit to them, making it probably against the odds and now they will be confident. They came to Blundell Park recently and got a result. 

"Now the 46 games that we've just played count for nothing – they've got you into the play-offs – now it's a different ball game."

''Obviously it'll be a different team than we saw from us today and we've gotta do all we can to get ourselves an advantage in the first leg.

A first half goal from Steven Jennings saw Town go down to another defeat at Prenton Park, and although the team's form has been patchy towards the end of the season, Hurst said that he has no concerns ahead of the big fixtures to come.

I was just saying there that we looked at some stats beforehand,'' said the Town boss.

''We looked at forms going into it on the past eight seasons and it makes no difference whatseover, so from my point of view, I'm not concerned in the slightest.

''What I have said is one thing I know we've got, and Forest Green too, over the other two is experience in the play-offs.

''Again, whether that counts for anything is something we'll have to wait and see but it can't do us any harm.''

The two games between Town and Braintree in the regular season have been tight affairs, with the sides drawing 0-0 in September before Braintree came to Blundell Park, and Hurst believes that he now knows what to expect from the Essex side. 

He said: ''I think they played exactly how I thought they would at Blundell Park and realistically, we found it hard to create chances on the night. Their goal came from a desire to keep the ball in play when we perhaps should've cleared it.

''I think they've had Matt Payne come back into team recently who has done well, other than that its pretty much who we faced, with Akinola coming in as well to give them something a bit different.

''But all in all, I'm pretty sure of how they'll set up in the first leg, the second will depend on the scoreline and something might have to change at a point there.

Asked how important the play-offs are, Hurst said: ''They're always important and its an opportunity to get into the Football League ,which our football cub desperately craves.

''Teams have got slightly different motivations, I think Forest Green set out to win promotion, I'd say Dover are playing it down slightly if I'm honest and Braintree will probably almost be in dreamland already but now they're there they're gonna want to take the next step, which is Wembley and then the Football League.

''But for us, we've been there, we probably should've done it last season albeit for penalty kicks or a decision that still grates and that's all I can ask for now realistically from things that aren't in our control.

''I just hope that if they'res any luck to be had then we get some because in the play-offs at least, we're certainly due some.''

Watch the video from Prenton Park.  

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