Ronnie Moore wants his Hartlepool United strikers to be “brave” and go for their chances.
Moore takes Pools to Portsmouth tomorrow for one of the most difficult propositions in League Two.
Promotion-chasing Pompey have lost just twice all season and have conceded only two goals in their last six matches at Fratton Park.
The Pools boss will not write off his side – far from it, he says they will be up for the challenge.
But he wants his frontmen to go for goal. The four vying for the three advanced places tomorrow have seven goals between them – Scott Fenwick (3), Rakish Bingham (2), Rhys Oates (2) and Mikael Mandron (0).
Their total combined matches the tally of leading scorer Billy Paynter, who is out until February with Achilles trouble.
Bingham is in contention for a return to the starting XI tomorrow and Moore would love to see him on the scoresheet.
“Bings has so much quality, but is lacking in confidence at this present time,” said Moore. “I can’t give him that – that’s got to come from within.
“It’s about how brave you are? Do you carry on shooting, or take an extra touch in their box?
“He’s got to get back to basics, he’s got to start hitting the back of the net.
“He’s 22, with pace to burn, and if he can get that finishing right then he’s going to move us up the table and going to do himself the world of good at the same time.”
Bingham had the miss of the match in the 1-1 draw at Salford seven days ago, Fenwick not being far behind when he made a mess of an attempted diving header.
“Scott has that little bit of experience, he’ll be disappointed he did not score at Salford,” said Moore.
“But Scotty does get a goal for us.”
Moore said the absence of goals is a worry and will be something the club will address if the current strikers do not start hitting the net.
“You have to take your training form into games – if you watch training sometimes they are brilliant and sometimes they are awful.
“Basically, that’s what we are getting on a Saturday.
“But where do you get someone to score 15 goals? For nowt?
“They are not going to just come, we have to dig deep, we have to go for youth. And when you bring youth in, it’s up in the air how good they’ll be.
“They might do it, they might not.
“Getting experienced players is rare, but we are looking and we hope, when January comes, if we can’t get experience it’s being lucky with loans.
“We all know what we need – we are probably a striker or two away from being decent at this level.
“Basically, that’s where we need to put it right.”
Moore pointed out that getting goals is not an exclusive job for the forward – other players have to weigh in with some.
And he warned that they can’t just wait for the return of Paynter.
“Billy’s a massive miss,” he admitted. “He has seven goals and he’d probably be on 10 now.
“He’s out for at least the next four to six weeks, so it’s vital in that time that we hang on in there.
“But we should not have to put all our eggs in one basket with Billy as our saviour.
“Goals have to come from all over the pitch – not just our strikers.
“Our midfielders need to contribute goals. That’s why Jake Gray is here, Carl Magnay has the licence to get into the box as well, so we need goals from him.
“Set-plays, centre-halves, we need goals from them, a lot of goals do come from set-plays.
“We may not get too many chances at Portsmouth, so it might have to come from a corner or free-kick, where our work on the training ground could pay off.”