Pritch perplexed by striker struggles

10:00am Monday 9th December 2013

By Andrew Simpson

BRIAN Pritchard says he is baffled by his strikers’ struggle to score goals after Witton Albion failed to score during Saturday’s defeat against in-form Buxton.

His side has been shut out in a quarter of their 20 Premier Division games to date, hitting the net only once in seven others.

Most recent recruits Adam Parkhouse and Aaron Rey, who formed the hosts’ attacking tandem at the weekend, take to a dozen the number of forwards used by the club this season.

They are unlikely to be the last either, according to the manager.

He said: “We’ve got a problem, and we need to solve it quickly.

“It’s so frustrating, because our build-up play is good and we’re making chances. I take heart from that, but we’re just not putting the ball in the net.

“There’s no accident or coincidence in the fact we’ve used so many players up front. I’ll continue to make changes until we find the right combination.”

Frustratingly, he had already.

Dave Walker scored five goals in four starts during a month-long loan stay, only for injury to rule him out when Witton were ready to renew the arrangement.

The 30-year-old, on Rushall Olympic’s books, requires surgery on a hernia so is unavailable for the foreseeable future.

Pritchard told the Guardian he has sent to notices of approach to two clubs in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s Division One North, speaking to a striker last week who is in double figures for goals this season.

Another, who scored than 20 times last term, was approached earlier.

But both men turned down a move.

“I could hear the groans and grumbles on the terraces at the weekend,” added Pritchard.

“Our fans should know that I’m working flat out to find somebody, and that search doesn’t stop even when we’ve brought in players.

“Aaron [Rey] has pedigree at this level, but he’s low on confidence after not playing much recently. He’s as desperate as anybody to score.

“We’ve been fortunate to have players like Alex Titchiner, Shaun Tuck and Dave Walker – all prolific scorers – in recent seasons. At the moment, we’ve not found the next one in that sequence.

“I looked over to Buxton’s bench on Saturday and Mark Reed, their record scorer, was sat there.

He can’t get a game because they have a player like [Lee] Morris who was clinical when a chance came his way.

“We’re getting into the right positions, but don’t seem able to do what he did to us. That’s hard to take, especially when we had three or four openings in the first 20 minutes or so.”

That front men Neville Thompson (ankle) and Kyle Wilson (foot), with eight league goals between them this season – that’s less than Witton’s top scorer Josh Hancock, who has nine – are both ruled out injured is not helping Albion’s cause.

Neither is likely to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Marine.

To read a report on Saturday's match, click here: http://bit.ly/1jyrfeF

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