Lee Harding says work is well under way to position Braintree Town for a move into the Football League “should the unthinkable happen”.

With the team fifth in the Vanarama National League with just nine games remaining, the Iron chairman said the club had been looking at ground upgrades they would have to make if the team’s amazing form on the pitch continued and promotion became a reality.

While the Avanti Stadium meets National League ground requirements it will need about £500,000 of work to satisfy Football League criteria.

But Harding says they are looking at the work should it be required and has praised Braintree Council and Essex County Council for the support they are giving them.

Harding said: “There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes with a lot of correspondence and negotiations with our friends at the Football League.

“We know the ground, as it stands, meets the Football League’s entry requirements because we would have been allowed to take part had we reached the play-offs two years ago.

“What was pivotal then two years ago was support from Braintree Council.

“Things that really did make a difference was personal support from (Council leader) Graham Butland and chief executive Nicola Beech.

“They wrote a very strong letter of support for the football club, which I think made the difference.

“I’ve spoken to both recently and they are both 110 per cent behind the club again now and that is very reassuring.

“As things stand at the moment, we have one eye on what we have got and it’s likely that we’ll have to start thinking about a planning application over the coming weeks for things we may have to do at Cressing Road should the unthinkable happen.

“As things stand at the moment, we know we meet the entry requirements.

“But within the first year of membership (of the Football League) promoted clubs have to meet the entry requirements, which we do, and also their admission requirements.

“There are three tiers of entry requirements to get in and remain in the Football League – entry, admission and membership.

“First is toe in the door, next is foot in the door and then they say ‘alright, we’ll let you stay’.

“We have the toe in as we know we meet the entry requirements but the Football League are now asking how we plan to meet the admission requirements.

“That means here that we need more seating and more capacity.

“It has to go to 5,000 capacity including 1,000 seats, so it’s not an enormous jump but it has to be done.

“We now have 4,200, with 553 seats.

“That means the size of the stand has to be increased and we’ll increase the size of the Quag End (terrace) at the far end of the ground.

“So there is a fair amount of work to be done and we’re talking to Braintree Council about that.

“They are helping in every way that they can with regards to planning works and we have already run our upgraded stadium plan past Essex County Council.

“Even though the work has not been done, they have said that, in the event that the works were done, they would support it and issue us with a safety certificate.

“That’s the maximum support they can give us at this point so they have been 110 per cent behind us and Braintree Council are working hard with us to meet the requirements put in place by the Football League.

“We are not there yet and we don’t have a guarantee that we tick all the boxes but work is ongoing and we’re very hopeful.

“They are working hard on the pitch and we’re working hard in the boardroom.”

But while they are looking at upgrading their current home, Braintree still harbour hopes of moving to a new stadium in the future and Harding said that is being factored into their plans.

He added: “The improvements we are looking to make will be designed as we have in the past with the terracing at the Quag End and the Clubhouse End and seating in the main stand.

“It’s not temporary but it is designed to be transportable.

“So we can take things with us to a new stadium.

“We probably won’t be taking the portacabins or the pitch, though.”

However, the Iron chairman said a ground share with an established local Football League club, such as Cambridge United or Colchester United, wasn’t an option open to the Iron.

“You can’t offer up a ground share to get around ground grading issues,” he said.

“It’s not a way round it at Football League level.

“The only way that would be acceptable would be if we were in a position where we had a new stadium currently being built.

“Then we may have a dispensation to ground share for a year but only if a spade was in the ground for a new stadium build minimum.

“You can’t say ‘we’re thinking of getting a new stadium in a few years’ because the Football League don’t accept that.

“We have to get our own house in order.

“But then it was the same in 2004/5/6, it was the same in 2009/10/11 with the team tending to get there a year or two before the club and the ground being ready.

“That’s fine as we like a challenge.”