By Matt Badcock
Hakan Hayrettin wants his Braintree Town players to feel like they’ve won the league – by finishing outside the National League drop zone!
The 48-year-old is now permanently back in charge after a caretaker spell following the resignation of Brad Quinton last month.
In his four games, they were denied three points by a last-minute equaliser at Salford City before back-to-back wins against fellow strugglers Dover Athletic and an away triumph at Bromley.
It’s Hayrettin’s second spell at the Iron, having taken over during the 2016-17 season with the club in a similar predicament.
Despite good runs in the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, they missed out on survival on the final day and Hayrettin departed.
The former Thurrock and Grays Athetic boss, who was part of John Still’s coaching staff when Luton Town won the National League title, hopes to avoid the injury problems that plagued the squad last time out – and he’s relishing the opportunity for a better outcome.
“I was probably the first person on the phone to the chairman when they got promoted, I couldn’t have been happier,” Hayrettin told The NLP.
“When the opportunity arose to be caretaker, because I’m a friend of the club, I stepped in and did my best. That’s led to this.
“Survival is the key and ultimately that’s all it is. If we finish just outside the relegation zone, it’s like winning the league.
“It’s never going to be easy. There will be ups and downs. It’s a family orientated club. Everyone understands some of the restraints and we’ll keep going.
“I’ve said to the players, ‘I know what it’s like when you come to Braintree. You’re in four lanes and it funnels into one – it’s hard to get to!’
“It’s a good place, you can enjoy your football here and we’re seeing that in them. But ultimately the important thing is we get results.”
Hayrettin says the recent results which have lifted them off the bottom of the table have lifted the mood.
“It’s a great opportunity, a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it,” Hayrettin said. “It’s probably the lowest budget in the league, by far, but I’m going to try and work the oracle and do my best.
“I’ve identified what I think the players can do – I’ve always been, ‘Tell me what you’re good at, not what you’re not good at and I’ll try to make you better’. That’s what we try to do.
“From my experience as a player, a coach and a manager, you’ve got to use every tool possible to get the best out of players. We’ve got to keep focused, keep working hard, be seen and not heard and get results.
“There seems to be more unity in the group now because no one likes to lose and when you win games of football it obviously helps.”