BRAINTREE Town manager Glen Driver is confident that his squad building is further advanced than he thought it would be at this stage when he was appointed as Iron boss less than a month ago.

Having been handed the Iron reins at the start of June it has been a tough first four weeks as Driver has had to assemble a squad pretty much from scratch, but he is pleased with the progress that has been made by himself and assistant boss Tony Kinsella.

They have brought in some talented up-and-coming players who Driver feels have the hunger and desire that he is looking for to flourish in the Vanarama National League South next season.

It means the Braintree squad has been taking good shape ahead of the opening pre-season game at Thurlow Nunn League premier division side Newmarket Town on Saturday, with the second swiftly following on Tuesday when Isthmian League division north side Coggeshall Town will visit Cressing Road.

Driver said he had been encouraged by what he had seen in Braintree’s pre-season training sessions over the last ten days and he is ready to start whittling numbers down ahead of the start of the campaign in August.

“It’s been a really good week,” he said.

“Training started on the Tuesday and we had 20-odd boys there, which was excellent, then on the Thursday we had near-on 30 and then at a double session at Five Lakes at the weekend there was a similar number.

“We’ve had 15 trialists, so we’ve seen more than 40 boys come through over the last week or so and I’m pleased with that.

“We have been working really hard and we won’t be leaving any stones unturned.

“I think it’s a case of things snowballing, where we’ve had players coming so we could take a look at them and others have seen that and wanted to be given an opportunity as well.

“Most of the players we’ve seen have been ones who we have known about, but the trialists are ones who you don’t know too much about so you want to have a good look at them.

“We are steadily building and putting things in place.

“It’s been tricky as we have had to start with a clean slate; I’m looking to get the squad down to 15 or 16 with players who not only fit in with our budget but also with our philosophy and how we want to do things.”

Driver said his squad building has been complicated by that clean slate that he has had to work from as the vast majority of last year’s players have left the club over the summer, with just three of the 2018/19 cohort still there now.

Building from scratch has been a novel experience, but the Iron boss is pleased with how his first month in charge has gone and he feels he is further advanced than he thought he would be at this stage when he took over at the start of June.

Driver added: “I’ve never been in this situation before at this kind of level.

“When I was at Leiston, I had to build a reserves side, but that wasn’t the same pressure as you knew you could get away with having 17 or 18-year-olds in there and results weren’t as important to us there at that time.

“When I then took over the first team at Leiston, I had 12 boys on contracts from a very good side that (previous manager) Richard Wilkins had put together and I could then add in others I wanted to build a squad, but I’m having to do it from scratch here at Braintree. It’s very different as you want to look at as many players as you can in every position.

“With us starting so late as well, that has given us just over a month before we go to Newmarket for the opening game, but I feel we have the ball in motion and have seen 40-odd players already.

“If anything, I’d say that I’m further forward than where I thought we’d be at this stage when I took over.

“Everyone knows the situation the club is in and I’ve been recommended a lot of players, but the ones we have in are young and have a hunger to be given an opportunity and plenty have shown that they are definitely good enough.”