LEE Barnard knows that it is important for Braintree Town to get as far clear of the Vanarama National League relegation trapdoor as they can - as soon as they can.
The Iron have been building momentum since boss Hakan Hayrettin came in.
But despite their crucial win against North Ferriby United last weekend and a sterling 2-0 success at Eastleigh in mid-week, they are still facing a battle against the drop and Barnard feels they need to ensure their safety as soon as possible.
The 32-year-old former Southampton and Southend United striker is an experienced member of Hayrettin’s squad and has been in similar positions to the one that Braintree find themselves at other clubs in his career. And he knows leaving a safety push until the closing weeks of the campaign isn’t ideal.
“It can be very hard if you’re in and amongst it at the end of the season with games running out,” he said.
“It gets harder and harder and you don’t want to be down there.
“We just want to be keeping the progression going that we’ve had.
“We are building something here with some decent lads.
“Performances and results-wise, I think we’re going in the right direction.
“As long as we can keep building then I think we’ll be alright.
“It was difficult at the start of the season because we were a brand new team.
“It took us time to gel, but I feel we’re definitely going in the right direction and it’s working well for us now.”
Braintree continue their battle for National League survival at Macclesfield Town on Saturday and Hayrettin knows that their fight could go down to the wire, so he wants his players to stay focused.
He added: “Every game is going to be tough for us and I’ve said before that it could go all the way.
“It could go down to the last few games of the season but we just have to keep fighting.
“It’s like a street fight where you just have to keep punching until you come out the other end.
“Since I have been here they have been doing that for me.
“Of course we don’t want it to go down to the last few games, so we’re just trying as hard as we can to get as many points on the board as possible.
“They have given me a lot more points than not and won a lot more games than not.
“You have to keep picking up points because other teams might as well and some of the teams around us are spending a lot more money than we are.
“Some clubs are paying players fortunes and throwing a heck of a lot of cash at it.
“Our club have been fantastic with us and we just have to keep doing what we have to to get those points.”