THOSE running Braintree Town are certainly not ready to throw the towel in on the Iron’s Vanarama National League survival fight.

In a revealing interview to the Braintree and Witham Times, Iron chairman Lee Harding stressed that the club’s focus is very much on survival rather than planning for a drop into the second tier of non-league football.

Their situation is clearly not an easy one as Braintree head into Saturday’s home game against Barnet and they are currently nine points away from the table’s safety zone.

But Harding insists the work that manager Hakan Hayrettin and his team have put in and new players coming into the club mean they are still optimistic they can stage a great escape.

And while they are fast approaching the “make or break” part of the season, Harding said the battle would go on.

He said: “Given our position, there has to be a bit of both where we are focused on getting out of the relegation zone while also having one eye on next year.

“As we move forward, the majority of the focus is on where we are now and making sure we can stay where we are.

“But as we continue on with the season, we will obviously have to start thinking more about next season – that is what happens every year.

“I think we are fast approaching make or break time.

“I think it was obvious to everyone that we were not doing well at the beginning of the season.

“Prior to Hakan taking over, we only had six points from a possible 45 and that’s relegation form.

“It wasn’t that we hadn’t tried to help (previous manager) Brad (Quinton); we did as we increased the budget.

“I know that wasn’t enough for some people because they wanted us to splash cash that we don’t have.

“We could have done that, but we’d end up in the High Court like others have done and I’m not prepared for that to happen.

“Our primary objective is to make sure that we are here next year and we do that with a sensible budget and support from fans gradually over time.

“You have to be patient and we were patient at the start of the season – even as late as the game against Eastleigh, I was willing Brad to turn things around.

“But it wasn’t just defeats we were suffering, it was the manner of defeats.

“Those bemoaning defeats now should remember the 5-1 hammering by Leyton Orient or the game at FC Fylde because we were awful at times.

“So Hakan came in, got us a draw at Salford and then wins against Dover and Bromley and in three games had put more points on the board than in the previous 15.

“Had someone said to me then that this team was rubbish, we’d got rid of the man who had turned our fortunes around, got someone else in and then struggled, I would have been in place for more criticism.

“But we have made no long-term guarantees to Hakan and he has made no long-term guarantees to us.

“He is popular with the board, he likes the club and I think he is turning our fortunes around despite difficulty with things like Mo Bettamer and Reece Grant departing.

“Hakan has had to remodel the squad and I think we are now starting to see the benefits of it.

“The exit from the FA Trophy was a shame because of the financial benefits we would have seen had we progressed, but the changes we were forced to make as players were unavailable or chose not to travel made it tough.

“But other than that, I think you can see progress in the last half a dozen games.

“The two against Ebbsfleet were tough but the amounts they are spending – three to four times what we are – means they should be destined for the play-offs.

“We are all about sustainable growth because we are not a boom and bust club, so it’s difficult to gauge progress against clubs spending money on players like they are.

“So that leaves games against Boreham Wood, Maidenhead and Halifax and we’ve taken points in all of them.

“Those games have shown that the players Hakan has brought in – players who are working with Premier League and Championship clubs – have made a difference and we are seeing progress.

“However, look at the table and it still shows we are fast approaching the make or break part of the season.

“We need to start pushing up now and winning games.

“With the run that we now have until the end of February, I believe that will decide our season.

“If we can pick up points to close the gap then that gives us something to play for in the end part of the season and we’ll give it our best shot.

“I’m not saying we’ll spend money the club doesn’t have because all that does is lead to financial difficulty.

“I would rather see us at the level below than bankrupt so we will spend what we can afford, but we give it a real go.

“If we are in touch at the end of February then we will do all we can, while remaining solvent, to get out of the relegation zone.

“But if we are significantly adrift and the board think we will not stay up, then it will be no surprise if we start planning for life in the Conference North or South.

“I don’t see anything wrong in that.”