The absence of a red-hot forward is standing between Hunslet Club and a much higher league position, says their secretary and club stalwart Wayne Robbins.
They bounced back from a defeat at struggling Pool last week to beat a fourth-placed Shelley outfit 2-0 and catapult themselves to 10th on a weekend every other side was preoccupied with cup action.
Goals from Omri Lindfoot and Kyrenah Samuel did the business for Hunslet in a game they dominated. The defeat was Shelley’s first in three league matches.
South Leeds outfit Hunslet have scored 28 goals this season, just two more than bottom club Sherburn White Rose, and Robbins admits that whilst every other department in the side is strong, it is form in the final third that is preventing them from competing at the top.
“I’m very honest and if I was to say that we were rubbish, we’re rubbish, but we’re not,” Robbins said. “We just haven’t got a striker.
“We’re playing really well at times and we’re competing against some really good sides, but we’re just missing that clinical side of things, that bloke who gets a chance and you know he’s going to put the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve lost players in the last couple of years. Lee Turner left to play for Garforth in the North East Counties and Jonny Grayston had to hang up his boots, he used to be a 20 odd goals a season man. They’re hard to replace.”
In terms of results, Hunslet are a side that have left many scratching their heads, including Robbins himself.
He added: “We’re a real up and down team. We’ve beaten Field, we’ve beaten Ilkley, we’ve beaten Shelley, we only got beaten 1-0 by Leeds City and then we go to the teams around us and we don’t seem to compete.
“We lost to Headingley in a cup match 17-18 on penalties, we lost a match against Boroughbridge, in the league below, where we missed a penalty to go 3-0 up and they ended up drawing back 2-2 and beat us on pens.”
This inconsistency is an issue, and aside from being a marksman short, Robbins bemoaned a lack of availability as a major issue holding the side back, a common gripe among managers at this level this season. He explained: “We always put out a strong and competitive first 11, but it’s not always the same 11 week on week and that really harms us.”
But speaking from a junior training session, Robbins said that the club has a strong belief in junior football and that it boasts one of the strongest junior set-ups in the region, something they wear proudly on their sleeve. Robbins added: “We’ve got loads of junior teams, a good under 21s that haven’t been beaten for a couple of years, although I would say that they’re not quite as strong as it was for the last two or three years because a few of the lads have gone over that age group now. “We have a good crossover between the seniors and the juniors and a lot of the younger lads who play now help us out and come down to coach and referee some of the kids games. There’s a good link there and there are a lot of kids coming through these gates. From Monday to Thursday last week we had 300 kids that came to play football with us and then they call come back on the Friday and Saturday. It’s something we’re proud of.”