MANAGER Glen Driver wants to see his youthful Braintree Town players step up and be leaders on the pitch to bounce back after a disappointing run of Vanarama National League South form.

After a 3-0 defeat at home by Hungerford Town on Saturday, Braintree have now taken just one point from their last four league outings and have slipped to ninth in the table.

The latest loss was particularly disappointing as it came against a side sat bottom of the league and Driver felt a number of his players failed to reach the levels he expected from them.

In particular, he felt greater leadership needed to be taken by individuals during games.

Driver knows his resources are limited, though, and he can't afford to go out and buy an older experienced player who could be a natural leader, so he is calling on his young players to step up to the mark.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re lacking leaders at the moment," said the Iron boss.

“There’s not the leadership out on the pitch but that can come from having a young team like we do.

“The oldest player in our side is 25 so we don’t have that 32 or 33-year-old imposing centre half who is going to be the leader.

“Sadly those older experienced players cost money.

“We are where we are - we’ve got 23 points.

“Would I have taken that at this point in the season at the start?

“Yes I would because we’re more than halfway to where I think we need to be to be safe this year, but we need to dust ourselves down and go again.

“We’ll train hard this week and look forward to Hemel Hempstead next weekend."

Driver said not taking chances when his team were on top at the start of Saturday's game proved costly as he felt his side "let Hungerford get away with murder".

He added: “We created enough chances to score goals but when you don’t take them, you’re going to get punished.

“We had a couple of great chances at 0-0, but to be fair, when we’ve come up against sides who are fighting for the points like Hungerford and Tonbridge, we just don’t seem to have the guile about us that we need.

“People just don’t want to do the ugly side of the game and we’re letting too many teams off the hook.

“We let Hungerford get away with murder.

“They came to us scratching for points so we knew it would be a difficult game but we were carrying people and that was disappointing.

“Against Maidstone on the Tuesday night we were excellent and could quite easily have won that game but it just wasn’t good enough."

Braintree now have back-to-back away games at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday and then Welling United on November 16.

The trip to Hemel will be the Iron's first return to Vauxhall Road since their dramatic National League South play-off success there two seasons ago and Driver will be looking for a solid defensive display after seeing his team concede 12 goals in the last four games.

He said: “They are two very tough away games now and we have to bounce back.

“One point from the last four games is not good enough.

“We are leaking goals at the moment and we have to be better defensively than what we have.

“The boys have to stand up and be counted now."