WHILE the sales of season tickets are slightly down on numbers at the same stage of last year, Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding is pleased with the uptake so far.

Considering the club was relegated from the Vanarama National League at the end of last year and is still waiting to appoint a new manager after the departure of Danny Searle last month, Harding felt ticket sales had been strong.

And while the deadline for Early Bird discounted season tickets has now passed, the Iron chairman is hoping the naming of the next boss may entice more fans to commit to summer purchases.

He said: "It has not gone quite as well as last season, but we do have almost as many and considering we have taken a step down, I'm pleased with the take up.

"It's gone well all things considered and I'm hoping that one or two more fans, when they see that we have a new manager in place, may be persuaded to buy season tickets as well."

Despite the club not having named their new boss yet, they have pushed forward with arranging a programme of pre-season fixtures ahead of the start of the 2019/20 campaign in August.

Braintree have four home games arranged and three away days and Harding feels it will give the Iron the blend they need to prepare for the coming campaign.

He said: "We've got a couple where we can earn a few bob and some good tests in there.

"We expect pre-season training to start on June 22 so it's set to be a busy spell."

The summer games start with a trip to Thurlow Nunn League premier division side Newmarket Town on July 6, before the first home outing when near neighbours Coggeshall Town, of Bostik League division north, will visit Cressing Road on July 9.

That game against the Seedgrowers will be followed by another home fixture when Premier League club West Ham will send an under-23 team to Braintree on July 12 and a home game against a side from Championship club Brentford follows on July 16.

There are then back-to-back away games at Bostik League division north duo Bury Town and Maldon & Tiptree on July 20 and 23 respectively before it's back home to face Vanarama National League North side King's Lynn Town on July 27.