Football League dream is Reason for Jai’s dedication
BRAINTREE TOWN could face a fight to keep influential midfielder Jai Reason at the club next season, especially if the 22-year-old is lured by the bright lights of the Football League.
The former Cambridge midfielder has been a key figure in the Iron engine room this season, scoring 11 goals, and has earned England C recognition, alongside Iron team-mate, Kenny Davis.
However, Reason is out of contract next month, has yet to be offered a new deal at the Amlin Stadium, and is keen to return to the full-time game.
“I have not got a contract offer from Braintree so I am technically a free agent next month,” said Reason.
“As soon as I get something on the table, I will look at what is best for me but I would love to go back into the Football League.”
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Reason departed Portman Road for Braintree’s Blue Square Bet Premier League rivals Cambridge in the summer of 2009, following a successful spell on loan at the Abbey Stadium.
This season the midfielder has made 43 appearances for Braintree as he rebuilds his career but admits his drop out of the Championship to the fifth-tier and eventually the part-time game with Iron, was a culture shock.
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“When you are a scholar or a first-year pro, you don’t realise what is outside your club,” said Reason, who was sent out on loan by Jim Magilton before being released by Roy Keane
“The facilities at Ipswich were incredible and it was a big knock when I was released. I was playing well at Cambridge and I was hoping that might convince Roy to keep me but it didn’t happen.
“I had been at the club since I was nine or 10 but in hindsight I think it was the best thing for me as I was living in a bubble. Suddenly I had to stand on my own two feet.
“You are suddenly playing at non-league grounds with bald patches on the pitches but I have got used to it and I believe I have improved.
“I can defend now, believe it or not, I am scoring goals and it is starting to get noticed.”
Reason is one of several players at the Amlin Stadium that could be lured by the carrot of full-time football next season, with the likes of Nathan McDonald, Aswad Thomas and Davis also having caught the eye this season.
And if the classy midfielder does make the step, his hard work and dedication will have been vindicated – the midfielder devotes his time to being a full-time footballer, despite only playing part-time.
“I always want to push to play at that step higher and I am not going to stop,” admitted Reason, who also had a spell at Crawley Town.
“We are a part-time club but I have not got myself another job, I am still training full-time which is coming out of my pocket and I hope it pays off.
“It is sometimes hard to get up in the morning and run by myself, go to the gym or kick a ball in the park on my own but I have a positive mentality.
“I am not going to improve by sulking on the sofa all day. Nothing is done for you in life.”