IRON IN LIMBO OVER AKINOLA
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