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Hornchurch boss expects strong Braintree test in bid for Essex Senior Cup final spot

PUBLISHED: 16:47 04 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:47 04 February 2014

AFC Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

AFC Hornchurch manager Jim McFarlane. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Preview Essex Senior Cup semi-final: AFC Hornchurch v Braintree Town.

AFC Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane is relishing the test of what he hopes will be a strong Braintree Town side tonight as they eye a spot in the Essex Senior Cup final for the second year in succession.

The Urchins won the cup last season 2-1 against Grays Athletic at Dagenham & Redbridge’s Victoria Road ground, and saw off the Daggers 1-0 in the quarter-finals to ensure a last four tie with the Iron.

Both Hornchurch and Braintree had their league games at the weekend called off due to waterlogged pitches, but there is no problem with the surface tonight at Bridge Avenue, and McFarlane hopes the Conference Premier side go with a strong squad.

“Looking at their previous games in the competition they have used quite a few of their first team and hopefully it’ll be the same again,” said McFarlane.

“Their fitness should be better than ours as they train a bit more but it didn’t affect us against Dagenham in the last round, in fact we looked like the better side.

“They didn’t have a game on Saturday either so hopefully they’ll be at full strength to give their first teamers the minutes they need.”

It’s a competition close to McFarlane’s heart from his playing days and he insists it’s still a competition he loves being a part of.

“To make it to the finals for a second year on the spin would be a great achievement. It’s always been a competition I have enjoyed and wanted to do well in and that hasn’t changed since I took up management.”

The one doubt for the Urchins tonight is Michael Spencer who is touch and go whether he makes the bench after picking up a knock in training, while McFarlane confirmed he’s brought Martin Tuohy back from his loan spell at Brentwood Town.

“Martin’s got a little knock as well so he won’t feature tonight,” said McFarlane.

“I get on well with Brentwood manager Danny Dafter and we have both done each other a favour with him being out on loan and getting some game time.

“He hasn’t been scoring the goals but that’s because they have been playing one up top.

“But I’ve decided to bring him back and hopefully once he recovers from his knock he can come back in and make a difference.”

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