By Ron Fosker

BRAINTREE Town fans of some standing will have two distinctly different memories of starting a season with a whole set of new faces - Jamie Day’s overhaul of necessity last season and George Borg’s transformation, largely by choice, in 2004.

They will be hoping new manager Brad Quinton’s new-look squad falls into the latter category rather than the former.

The new set of names will be out to show that they deserve comparison with Borg’s side that finished fifth in their first season under the new manager - and first the following season.

By a curious twist of fate Quinton and new assistant manager Andy Porter were the only two players Borg retained from the previous season and played alongside new names such as Billy Burgess, Ollie Adedeji, Paul Lorraine and Alex Revell, who quickly established themselves as a force in the Ryman League Premier.

Their task differs from Borg’s in that he was overhauling a squad that had finished second from bottom in the Ryman League the previous season.

Quinton, who took Enfield Town from 19th when he took over to seventh, sixth and fourth in his three seasons in charge, now has to stabilise a club still reeling from relegation after a chaotic season in which neither Day nor his successor Hakan Hayrettin could find the right players or the right blend.

The blend will come later, but first of all Quinton had to find the players.

Almost the entire squad from last season have found new homes: Sam Beasant, Lee Barnard and Craig Braham-Barrett at near neighbours Chelmsford, who came close to promotion last year; Jake Goodman to join the string of other ex Irons at Alan Devonshire’s newly-promoted Maidenhead; Michael Cheek to Dagenham (something of a surprise – many expected him to get his chance in the Football League); Sean Clohessy, Jack Midson and Jerome Okimo to Leatherhead; Jon Ashton to Grays; Ian Gayle to Welling; Chez Isaac to Woking; and Manny Parry to Dover.

At the time of writing, Sam Corne, Reece Hall-Johnson, Harry Lee and Barney Williams are without clubs.

From last year’s squad only Joe Maybanks and Ben McNamara, neither of whom featured prominently, have been retained from last year.

Like his predecessors Day and Danny Cowley, Quinton has raided his old club.

His first signing was a symbolic one, the return of former supporters’ player of the year Nathan McDonald in goal.

He then signed midfielder Scott Shulton, another former Braintree player - he totalled 21 appearances in the 2011 Conference South promotion season - later added full-back Jonathan Muleba and midfielder Billy Crook, full-back Ricky Gabriel and midfielder Connor Bolton, all of whom had been with him at Enfield last season.

It will give the manager a nucleus to build the team around and there has already been evidence in the friendlies of the understanding that exists between his players in the neat close-passing game they have produced.

It is a style Iron fans have been calling for over many years as they often watched defenders hoofing the ball aimlessly upfield.

But it is a pattern of play that has dangers.

It may be pleasing on the eye, but one misplaced pass can allow a forward to nip in and make them pay as Sammie Szmodics, the former Iron loanee, did for Colchester in one of the friendlies.

There was also a lapse of concentration in the Southend friendly where a cross was allowed to float into the penalty area unimpeded and dropped at a forward’s feet.

As yet, the Iron back line does not look to have the stability that players such as Matt Paine, Dean Wells and Alan Massey have brought to it in recent years.

Quinton’s main problem, though, looks to be up front where three of the strikers he recruited - George Sykes, Liam Enver-Marum and Nigel Neita - have already left the club.

Lack of firepower was obvious in the friendlies and the manager is known to be keen to recruit replacements.

His first task - the first task of any manager unless they are Pep Guardiola or Antonio Conte - is to ensure the team do not get relegated.

Double relegations are not uncommon - Altrincham fell out of the premier division in 2016 and finished bottom of the north division last season - while instant returns are fairly rare.

Of the teams relegated in the last ten years only Ebbsfleet (2011), Telford (2014) and Halifax (last season) returned immediately.

Quinton’s ambition will probably be somewhere between the two.

No-one expects a promotion, but a second relegation would be a severe blow.

Chairman Lee Harding’s mantra during the premier division years was always to get to 50 points - not always enough as it turns out - and then move on from there.

With four fewer matches this season, the cut-off point may be lower, but the sentiment remains the same. Safety first - and then see what happens.