The Bees kick-start their FA Cup campaign tomorrow when they welcome fellow National League outfit Braintree Town to The Hive.
John Still’s men go into the game off the back of a 2-0 league win over Solihull Moors just under two weeks ago. Wes Fonguck opened the scoring just shy of the hour mark before bagging his brace deep into stoppage time as Barnet returned to winning ways.
Attentions now turn to tomorrow afternoon as they take a break from league duty, aiming to reach the First Round Proper of the FA Cup.
You only have to cast your memory back to August to recall the last time these two sides met. Barnet welcomed Braintree to The Hive in their first home game of the season with the clash ending 1-1.
Jack Taylor headed a Jonathan Muleba cross into his own net to give the visitors the lead but it was cancelled out by Shaq Coulthirst just past the hour mark. Dan Sparkes fizzed the ball into the box and the Barnet number 10 was on hand to slide the ball home from close range.
Caretaker Manager: Hakan Hayrettin
After the departure of Brad Quinton earlier this month, Braintree are still on the hunt for a new manager.
In the meantime, however, former boss Hakan Hayrettin has been occupying the role in a caretaker capacity and will maintain his position in the dug-out tomorrow afternoon.
The 48-year-old first took charge of Braintree in September 2016 but after facing relegation from the National League in his first season, he left the role.
Hayrettin has only overseen one league match since returning to the club, a 2-2 draw away at Salford City last weekend.
He started his managerial career in 2003 at Waltham Forest before going on to take charge of Thurrock and Grays Athletic. Whilst at the latter, he guided them to a play-off semi-final finish in the Isthmian League Division One North in his debut season. However, the following campaign saw him go one better, achieving promotion to the Premier Division with a club-record 102 points.
He left the side in 2013 to join Luton Town as first team coach under Bees boss Still. He also led the U23’s side who went on to win the Football League final third U23’s title.
Hayrettin is no stranger to Barnet having played for us from 1989 to 1993 before leaving to sign for Wycombe Wanderers.
He went on to join sides such as Cambridge United, Doncaster and Peterborough but injuries forced him to drop down to part-time football.
One to Watch: Mohamed Bettamer
Mohamed Bettamer joined Braintree in the summer and has gone on to be a key member of the squad so far this season.
The forward, who began his career in the Watford youth set up, has already bagged six goals this campaign, becoming The Iron’s leading scorer.
Bettamer will go into tomorrow’s game high on confidence after netting three goals in his last two games, scoring a brace in their most recent encounter on Saturday.
If given the nod tomorrow, he will be hoping to replicate his recent league form in the cup and cause Barnet all sorts of problems.
Last Season’s FA Cup form:
Braintree began their FA Cup campaign in the Second Qualifying Round at home to Royston Town. However, after being held to a 2-2 draw, they were taken to a replay three days later. The Iron came out on top at the second time of asking, winning 2-1 in Hertfordshire.
However, their cup run came to an end at the Third Qualifying stage after finding themselves on the receiving end of a 4-1 thumping away at Brackley Town.
Promotion to the National League last season has meant that Braintree enter the competition at the final qualifying stage this time around.
Sitting rock bottom of the National League table, seven points from safety, Braintree have endured a difficult start to life back in England’s fifth tier.
The Iron, who only have one win under their belt this season, have lost four of their last five games. A 1-0 defeat to Maidstone was quickly followed up by a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Leyton Orient. They then lost 3-0 away at Fylde before suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Eastleigh. However, they go into tomorrow’s game off the back of a 2-2 draw with promotion chasers Salford at the weekend, a late equaliser denying them the three points.
Fortunately for Braintree, they can put aside their disappointing league form this weekend as they aim to start their FA Cup campaign with a victory.
Last 5 games: LLLLD
Simeon Akinola arrived at Barnet in 2017 after spending two years with Braintree. Making over 100 appearances for The Iron, the forward was also part of the Town side who reached the National League play-off semi-final in 2016. Akinola bagged over 20 goals for Braintree before making the switch to the Hive.
Another man who was part of that successful Braintree side of 2016 was summer singing Dan Sparkes. Signing from Histon in 2012, the midfielder spent over four years in Essex, making over 100 appearances before signing for Torquay in 2016.
One of Barnet’s most recent signings Zak Jules spent one month on loan at Braintree from Reading in 2016, featuring five times for the club.
As for Braintree, caretaker boss Hayrettin made over 80 appearances for Barnet between 1989 and 1993. During his time at the club, he was sent out on loan to Torquay United and Wycombe Wanderers respectively.
Justin Amazulor joined Barnet at U18 level in 2015 before progressing to the senior side. He made over 25 appearances for the club and was sent out on loan on multiple occasions. However, he left the Bees for Braintree at the end of August.