The Non-League Football Paper - - NEWS - By Sam El­liott

SIM AKINOLA may have turned up at the wrong sta­dium re­cently, but it looks like the Brain­tree Town man­age­ment have grounds to keep their on-form tal­is­man.

The Iron at­tacker thought the club’s clash with Brom­ley in late Novem­ber was at Hayes Lane – and turned up in Kent to find the doors locked.

He rushed back to Cress­ing Road to find him­self benched but the Lin­coln City, For­est Green, Eastleigh and Bar­net tar­get has done lit­tle wrong since.

Un­der new man­ager Hakan Hayret­tin, Akinola and his team-mates have thrived and a Jan­uary exit to the Foot­ball League was ex­pected for a player out of con­tract in the sum­mer.

Brain­tree chair­man Lee Hard­ing says the of­fers re­ceived so far have been “de­risory” – and they must weighup los­ing him for noth­ing in May, en­hanc­ing their sur­vival chances, or cashing in on the 24year-old.

Hard­ing said: “Sim has been fan­tas­tic in the last few weeks and as ev­ery­one knows the scouts have been mak­ing the pil­grim­age to the Mara­cana that is the Iron­mon­gery Di­rect Sta­dium!


“There are a few clubs in­ter­ested but per­son­ally I be­lieve he will be with us un­til the end of the sea­son. We’ve turned down of­fers. Things need to be right and they aren’t as we stand – we want to stay in this league and Sim is im­por­tant to that. “You never say never of course but our po­si­tion hasn’t changed – if there’s a deal to be done then who knows.” Brain­tree have won six of their last 11 in all com­pe­ti­tions and three of their last four Na­tional League games. It’s all down to the club go­ing back to what they know ac­cord­ing to the chair­man.

“Hakan has got Brain­tree back to do­ing what Brain­tree do best – scrap­ping and fight­ing for each other and up­set­ting the big­ger clubs,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be a bat­tle, we’re on a good run but we’re not out of it yet. We’re mak­ing progress whereas a few months back it was doom and gloom.

“We need seven or eight wins still but we have given our­selves a chance. It’s a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge. We’ve been near the top of the league for a few years now un­der Danny Cow­ley and Alan Devon­shire so this is the un­known but we’re re­cov­er­ing well from a poor first few months and ever since Hakan re­placed Jamie (Day) we’ve gone back to be­ing dif­fi­cult to play against.”

On Mon­day Brain­tree travel to Da­gen­ham in the re­verse fix­ture to Box­ing Day’s red-card rid­dled en­counter that saw two sent off and is­sues on the ter­races as the Iron won 3-2.


STAY OR GO? Hakan Hayret­tin, in­set, has got the best back out of Sim Akinola, and Brain­tree want to keep hold of the striker

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