IF they keep up the hard work that has brought them early success, captain Jake Hutchings is confident that Braintree Town can continue being the Vanarama National League South's surprise package this year.

The Iron have defied the fact that manager Glen Driver, who only took the helm at the start of June, and assistant boss Tony Kinsella had to build a completely new squad on one of the division's tightest budgets and are sitting fifth in the table with a quarter of the season gone.

With no game last weekend due to an early exit from the FA Cup, they now head into Saturday's trip to Tonbridge Angels on the back of a run of six league games that have seen them take 16 points from a possible 18.

They were less than convincing in their last outing against Oxford City, but still managed to grind out a 1-0 win that took their run on home turf to four straight victories.

Hutchings feels it is form that may have raised a few eyebrows outside Cressing Road, but he sees no reason why it should not continue if they can keep working how they have done so far.

“I think we have surprised other teams in the league," said the Iron skipper.

“I was always confident with Glen and TK that they would get the right players in so we could build a team that would deliver on the pitch.

“It’s early days still so I don’t want to say that we are there yet, that we’ll carry on and win the league, but if it continues like it has been and we keep working hard, then we won’t be far away from making those play-offs.

“The whole ethos here and what Glen said is that we’ll have a tight-knit dressing room.

“Everyone builds off each other and we have a great chemistry.

“We take that on to the pitch and hope it gets us results when we’re not playing so well.

“It showed against Oxford City.

“We didn’t play the best football that we have done all season but our togetherness got us through that game."

Hutchings feels that squad unity is going to be a key factor in Braintree continuing the encouraging start that they have had, but he said it was important for everyone at Cressing Road - staff, players and fans - to remain grounded and remember that there is plenty of hard graft still to come.

He added: “If we stay level-headed and don’t get too high or carried away – that’s going to be the key.

“We have to keep working hard in training sessions and keep fighting for each other.

“The squad is still evolving, but you want that togetherness.

“You need to look across the pitch and see someone who you know is going to fight for you and the team.

“You only have to look at Leicester (City); they didn’t have the best team in the world, but they shocked everyone and won the Premier League.

“I’m not saying we are going to do that, but we have to have the ambition to try to replicate something along those lines.

“We have talent in the dressing room and we will surprise teams.

“Look at the game at Havant (& Waterlooville), we turned up and beat them and hopefully we’ll just keep building strength on strength and getting better and better."