JAKE Thompson is embracing the changes after stepping up to join Witham Town this season.

The former Braintree Town Reserves player was brought to the Simarco Stadium last summer by manager Marc Benterman after he took the helm as Witham boss.

Thompson had mostly played in a midfield role prior to his time at Witham, but Benterman and his management team quickly identified that they would like to use him as a central defender.

And Thompson has risen to the challenge at the heart of Town's back line, making an impressive start to the BetVictor Isthmian League division north campaign.

He said: “It’s been a hard step up; I’d barely played at step five before this and it had pretty much all been at step six, so to come here (at step four) has been difficult.

“But I feel as though I’m getting used to it and getting used to the pace of the game at this level.

“I’ve also had to get used to playing in defence.

“I started to play there a bit at uni last year so I got a bit of a feel for it then and I started to get a liking for it.

“I can come out with the ball more so I still have that element to my game and I’m enjoying it.

“Hopefully I can keep doing it as it seems to be working well.

“I’m now looking to push on and carry on doing well."

Thompson's impressive start to the season has been mirrored by the team's solid opening, but a 2-1 defeat by Aveley last weekend means they have now taken just a point from their last three league outings.

The Witham defender said they had been pleased with the first part of the campaign, but he felt it was important that they didn't lose momentum.

“It’s been a good start," he added.

“The club almost got relegated last year, so we have to be pleased with the way we've started, but we have to push on now and see if we can rise up that table.

“You can’t afford to get into a rut because once you do that then it’s very difficult to get out of it.

“We don’t want to do that."

Witham will now head to Ashford United for an FA Trophy preliminary round tie and it will be Thompson's first taste of the competition - which is for sides playing in steps one to four of the non-league football pyramid.

So it is a trip he is looking forward to.

He said: “It’s always a big occasion and they are doing well in the league, so it’s going to be a good game.

“We’ll be up for it and you never know what can happen in a cup game.

“It will be my first taste of FA Trophy action and I’m sure we can give them a good game.”