Setting the scene
Saturday’s visitors, Braintree Town, have struggled since their promotion in the summer and make the 540-mile round trip from Essex to the International Stadium still looking for their first win of the season.
The Iron have picked up just three points in their opening 10 league matches, with two of the three coming away from home – leaving them sitting bottom of the National League table.
Brad Quinton’s side have led for just 57 minutes in those 10 matches, the majority of which came against Havant & Waterlooville, where Braintree were in front until the 90+4th minute and went on to lose the game.
Only two Braintree players have made the scoresheet so far this season, summer signing Mohamed Bettamer leads the scoring, with three goals, one ahead of Reece Grant.
Braintree are also yet to keep a clean sheet this season and have failed to score themselves in six of their opening 10 games.
Gateshead go into the game on the back of a hard-earned 1-0 win at Ebbsfleet last Saturday and will be looking to continue their encouraging start to the National League season.
Scott Barrow (foot) and Mike Williamson (groin) are expected to be available for selection. Luke Armstrong (hamstring) and Cameron Salkeld (calf) will miss out.
What we’re saying
Speaking to Gateshead FC TV, Steve Watson commented: “The lads have trained well and are all in good spirits and know that they need to keep on top of themselves in training to make sure they stay in the team.
“We had a great team bonding session on the golf course on Tuesday which was good fun.
“With them being a new squad, it was good to get the players together outside of training for the first time.
“Once you get back to Thursday it’s business as usual and you can see that the focus is there. Like me, they are starting to believe that there is not much that we can’t achieve in this league if we just keep going and keep our concentration levels high.”
On Braintree, Watson added: “I’ve seen them two or three times this season and they are a big, strong side.
“Like any team who haven’t started well, they’ll be looking at the next game to kick-start their season. They’ll 100 per cent be coming up here thinking they can win the game because they are going to win a game somewhere along the line and we’ve got to make sure it’s not on Saturday.
“We need to keep our momentum going and keep our self-belief. Keep attacking the way we have and keep passing the way we know we can and keep trying to create chances all while being solid.”
What they’re saying
Iron boss Brad Quinton said ahead of Saturday’s trip to the International Stadium: “If you are getting pummelled and getting beaten so you look like you’re not the best team or the opposition is miles better than you, then you look at the manager or the coach.
“That’s my honest opinion, but if you’re playing well and pushing teams back who are full-time and you’re still getting beaten by set pieces or by silly mistakes, then you have to look at individuals.
“All players have to bear that responsibility at any level when that happens.
“But you have to realise what we have and what we are at this level.
“People may not if they haven’t been around the club for too long, but you have to stand up and be counted.
“Maybe I have to bring in people who will just run, get box-to-box and start kicking lumps out of people and if I have to do that then I will, but I will still encourage them to keep playing football.
“When that win comes, though, we’ll kick on.”
Braintree may be without a win so far this season though their recent National League record against Gateshead may give them some encouragement as they have lost just three of their last 15 matches against the Tynesiders (5 wins, 5 draws).
Tickets available on the gate, they are priced at:
£10 NUFC/SAFC season ticket holders
The club will now be accepting payment via debit or credit card from the main reception on matchdays. Season ticket holders and those who have used card payment will now enter the Tyne and Wear Stand via the stairs in the main reception. Cash turnstiles will remain in operation as usual.
Last time we met
Gateshead ended a three game goalless and losing streak with a 1-1 draw at home to Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League.
A late Paddy McLaughlin penalty rescued a point for the Heed after Michael Cheek headed The Iron in front just after the hour.
It’s now six games without a win for the Tynesiders as they remain 10 points off the final Play-off place.
Gateshead (4-3-3): Hanford; Hogan (c), Bolton, M. Smith, Fyfield; Brundle, Penn (York 63), McLaughlin; D. Johnson (Mafuta 79), Burrow, Jones (Hannant 79)
Subs not used: S. Johnson, G. Smith
Braintree Town: Beasant, Okimo, Lee, Midson (c), Isaac (Adams 75), Akinola, Joles, Cheek (Barnard 90+2), Patterson (Hall-Johnson 58), Clohessy, Parry
Subs not used: Maybanks, Rumens
Goals: Gateshead – McLaughlin (85) ; Braintree Town – Cheek (61)
Referee: Peter Wright
Bookings: Gateshead – D. Johnson (40), Mafuta (88); Braintree Town – none
Attendance: 501 (25 Braintree Town)