DESPITE Braintree Town’s struggles at the foot of the Vanarama National League table, Andrew Eleftheriou says his time with the Iron has been a valuable experience.

And the 21-year-old Watford full-back says he would recommend Braintree as an ideal choice for other young players at top-level clubs looking to expand their footballing careers with loan deals away from their parent clubs.

Eleftheriou has been with the Iron since early January after coming in on loan from the Hornets and has now made 14 appearances for Braintree, including in the 3-1 defeat at Wrexham last weekend.

He values the chance to be playing senior football on a regular basis rather than being confined to under-23s action as he would have been had he stayed with his parent club and feels Braintree is the prefect place for young players looking to build experience.

“I’m enjoying having the chance to play,” said Eleftheriou.

“It’s such a good experience to be getting games at this level.We’re towards the bottom of the table but we have good quality in there and individually, you have players of a very good standard, so I’ve enjoyed being a part of that.

“For me, it’s a great chance to develop.

“You are seeing the characters of all the players developing and I want to be one of those who stand up and one who people can see is fighting for every single point. You don’t get this in under-23s football.

“When I’ve been involved with the Watford squad, it’s been a completely different scenario.

“The club are safe in the Premier League, but here we’ve been having to fight in every single game and I’m enjoying it.

“I like the fight and the scrap – it makes you dig deeper and recognise what you really want.

“That’s what we’re here for and I’d say to any player offered the chance to come here on a loan deal that they should get here as soon as they can.

“You don’t turn an opportunity like this down.

“It’s a great experience; it’s real football.

“It’s not under-23s football and it’s not sitting on the bench in a higher league and not playing, it’s getting the chance to play regular football at a good level.

“Danny (Searle) is a good manager with great philosophies and he is a good coach so he is going to develop you at whatever age you are.”

Braintree’s relegation from the National League may have been confirmed two weeks ago, but Eleftheriou said it is important for him and his Iron team-mates to keep battling until the end of the season.

They face another testing challenge this weekend when promotion-chasing AFC Fylde will be the visitors to Cressing Road in the Iron’s penultimate home game of the season.

He added: “I haven’t spoken to Watford about the end of the season because right now I’m only focused on Braintree and winning every game that we can.”