BRAINTREE Town manager Ryan Maxwell is disappointed his players won’t be able to compete in a proposed revised end of season plan for those National League South and North clubs wanting to play on and complete the season, writes DAVID WARD.

Clubs last week put forward a European Champions League-style four mini league competition, each involving four clubs, with the eventual winner being promoted to the top National League.

But it was thrown out by the Football Association, the governing body, on Friday as they regarded it would ‘destroy the integrity of the league.”

Maxwell said: “I am disappointed because if seemed a really good idea of maintaining interest in the game at our level until the planned end of season in May.

“I’m more disappointed for the players than anything else because they were really looking forward to it as being a way to play on competitively for the rest of the season in what would have been a great experience for them.

“In all honesty I wasn’t totally surprised the concept didn’t get accepted by the powers that be because we all know the amount of controversy that has gone on beforehand and despite it being a let down more for the players than anyone else we have to obviously accept it and move on.

“We had a couple of good friendlies against Gillingham and St Albans in preparation which were extremely useful and this coming weekend had talked to Ebbsfleet about another possible one but that hasn’t come off.

“All players like to play games rather than train as I did when I played and for me it’s a great opportunity to bring potential new players in and have a look at them in a match situation.”

Maxwell is also aware of the potential mental health worry for players not being able to train or play properly.

He said: “The terrible virus pandemic and lockdown has naturally affected us all and for both me and the backroom staff as well as the players being physically involved in training and playing matches is an important way of overcoming these kind of difficulties.”

Despite this latest setback Maxwell will be continuing to organise his Saturday morning training sessions at Cressing Road.

“Again it’s important to keep the team spirit going, keep the playing momentum going too for everyone," said the Iron boss.

“I intend to again bring in prospective new players for next season to have a look a them and whilst I’m confident the nucleus of the players we currently have will be staying too we have a great opportunity to get our groundwork done well before the start of next season.

“If we have a chance to sort out the odd behind closed door friendlies in the near future we will but the key is keeping the players involved.

“Naturally we’ll being a short break once the official season is over as everyone will need a brief rest.

“But we’ll be ready to go fully into pre-season training and already we’ve been sorting out some pre-season friendlies.”

Maxwell revealed he now has a new good contact person operating as a kind of recruitment assistant who has excellent knowledge of the non-league scene.

He added: “It’s beginning to work out well and I am hopeful we’ll have some really good players coming to the club to compete and possibly complete the first team squad.”

“Whatever happens in the coming few weeks we’ll be getting ready properly and be up and running in time for the new season so we hit the ground running.”

Maxwell admitted however he will need a short closed season break as he revealed he and his partner are expecting their first child.