STUART Marshall says it is vitally important Southend Manor aren’t thrashed by National League South powerhouses Braintree Town in the Essex Senior Cup tonight.

Manor face one of the competition’s frontrunners in the Iron, who play three divisions higher in the pyramid.

While Braintree sit top of the second tier of non-league football, Manor are struggling in the Essex Senior League and are 15th in the standings.

Marshall wants his team to enjoy the occasion at Cressing Road, but says not getting heavily beaten is also important.

“We came out late in the draw and we knew Braintree were left in there but it is what it is,” he said ahead of the third round encounter. “They are top of the National League South and are a good side.

“For us, it is a case of looking to enjoy the game and we want to put in a good account of ourselves. If you can’t get up for these sort of games you can’t get up for any game.

“But it is vitally important we don’t go there and get hammered.

“I remember being at Thurrock for an FA Cup youth match and we got hit for eight or nine by Blackburn Rovers and you don’t want to get humiliated. We need to work hard.

“Braintree are one of the favourites to win this cup and we could have the hardest tie in the draw. Their new boss (Brad Quinton) has come in and done very well, but we will work hard and try hard and if we lose so be it.

“But we have no excuses either as we have everyone available, apart from Liam Pitts.”

Manor have signed winger Jamie Brown from Bowers & Pitsea ahead of the clash.

Marshall added that there was no further update on goalkeeper Pitts, who sustained a serious leg break in Saturday’s league match against Redbridge.

“Liam remains at The Royal London Hospital and is waiting to be operated on,” he said. “We have signed Russell Harley, who will play for us in this match.”