DEFENDER Joe Ellul says Braintree Town’s senior players may have to “not be so nice” to make sure mistakes are cut out and keep their Vanarama National League South promotion push on track.

A last-gasp goal against Hemel Hempstead last weekend saw Braintree caught out as they were beaten 2-1 and manager Brad Quinton admitted that his players had been naive in how they had approached the end part of the game.

The Iron boss is looking to the more experienced players within his squad to take the lead in cutting out mistakes on the pitch and, as the team head to Welling United on Saturday, Ellul feels they may have to find a nasty streak to make sure they follow their manager’s instructions.

Ellul said: “To be fair, myself, Marc (Okoye), Ricky (Gabriel) and Nath (McDonald) are the oldest in the squad and we try to stamp that authority, but you can’t make people do things.

“They have their own minds and they have their own vision - good vision - for passes they can play; it may not always be the right thing but it will be the pass they want to make.

“I’m not going to criticise anyone for doing that because when it works it’s great.

“Look at us against East Thurrock - we tore them apart.

“However, there are times when the more senior players have to take it upon ourselves now to get in players’ ears and maybe not be so nice.

“We have to say ‘listen; do this, that or whatever’.

“I think people have to stay patient with us.

“When I first signed, it was clear that people didn’t expect the team to be in the position they were in, but we deserve to be where we are as we are a very good side.

“We have got to learn quickly from mistakes like this, but you can’t put a time limit on it as the boys are so young.

“I think the average age is 22 and you’ll struggle to find that anywhere in the leagues above or below us.

“When we play like we can, then no-one can live with us and you see teams having to throw two banks of four in front of us to try to stop us.

“That’s when we have to be clever and keep moving the ball like Brad is telling us and it will break down eventually.”

Ellul admits that recent dropped points are hitting Braintree’s hopes of staying in the title race, but he is backing the Iron to bounce back.

The defeat by Hemel Hempstead means they have only taken seven points from their last six games, but Ellul knows there is sufficient quality within the Iron squad to get back on track - starting at Welling.

“Dropped points are hurting us,” said the Braintree centre-half. “Look at the games we’ve played that we’ve drawn; if we’d won them then we’d be comfortably top.

“We have to work out how to kill teams off.

“We try to play the right way and while Brad wasn’t pleased with the result against Hemel Hempstead, I’m sure he was pleased with how we went about it.

“We have to put it behind ourselves now and move on to Welling.

“We have to get three points - no ifs or but. There is no drawing, we have to get three points.

“The boys will come good; I guarantee it, they’ll come good.”