Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding is hoping there will be a sizeable crowd when they welcome Norwich City to the Amlin Stadium tonight after more than 2,000 turned up to see the Canaries face Dereham Town at the weekend.

Harding said he had been told that the Norfolk side, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last year, would be bringing their first-team squad to face Braintree (kick-off 7.45pm).

He said: “I understand they took a big squad to Dereham, but they’ve said they’ll be splitting it tonight with senior players coming to Braintree and younger ones going elsewhere.

“It will be a tough test for us against a side who were in the Premier League last year and it’s one of the most high-profile sides we’ve had here for a few years.

“We have had the association with West Ham and I know Ipswich Town sent a first-team side over when they were in the top-flight, but this is probably the biggest in my time at the club.”

Alan Devonshire’s Braintree team opened their pre-season campaign with wins against Stanway Rovers and Long Melford on Saturday and the Iron boss is set to cast his eye over some more trial players tonight.

Harding added: “It’s a gradual process with Alan putting his team together with players coming in all as pre-season progresses.

“I think we’ll probably see some more new faces on Tuesday with players who may have been released by league sides after playing for them at the weekend.

“I know Alan has a couple of gaps he still wants to fill.”