GOALKEEPER Michael Johnson admits this pre-season has been like no other he has experienced, but he had no hesitation in signing up for a new chapter at Braintree Town.

The Iron have had to build an entire squad pretty much from scratch this summer under new manager Glen Driver and Johnson has been a key addition for the Braintree boss.

Braintree's next pre-season action is due to come on Tuesday evening when they head to BetVictor Isthmian League division north side Maldon & Tiptree ahead of their final preparation fixture when King's Lynn Town, of Vanarama National League North, head to Cressing Road on Saturday.

The 25-year-old keeper admits that pre-season has had some downs as well as ups as the new-look squad have gelled together and adapted to a style of play that Driver wants them to use, but he is thrilled to be a part of their voyage back into Vanarama National League South this year.

Johnson made the decision to leave Hitchin Town, where he made more than 150 appearances for the Southern League premier division side to join Braintree and although he was leaving a club where he had been a popular member of the side, he had no qualms in stepping up.

He said: “To be honest, it wasn’t really a tough decision once Glen had called me.

“I came down to the ground the next day and it was pretty much all sorted and done then because he is a guy who I wanted to work for.

“Hearing his passion for football and how he wants his team to play football is the main thing.

“A lot of people play non-league and retire early because they are in teams that play long ball and they are just chasing the ball, so it’s nice to work for a manager who has refreshing ideas and wants to get the ball down and play.

“I think that’s better for everyone and I could see myself doing it for years as it’s so much more enjoyable."

Johnson, like all members of the Iron squad, have been having to adapt to Driver's style of play and he admitted that there had been tough games, like the 4-0 defeat by Brentwood, as well as successes, including clean sheets at Newmarket and Bury Town.

“For me, it has been up and down so far," he added.

“It was good to start with a win and a clean sheet helped and we then had some really tough games.

“Against West Ham and Brentford the movement was great to watch at times but not so good to play against; I had to work hard but that’s good as I’ve been able to show my ability.

“There is a lot more to come, though, not just from me but all the boys.

“We’ve been having to get to know each other as it’s a squad that has been freshly put together.

“I’ve never had to have a pre-season like that.

“I had five years at Hitchin where there was a settled squad and new players have come in and fitted in around it, but here everyone has started with a clean slate and had to prove themselves while getting to know each other.

“That’s hard because there are people competing for the same spots in the squad, but I think it’s going to be a close-knit tight squad that we’ll have this year.

“It is just about developing it into the finished thing."