We need to recapture confidence

Goalkeeper Craig Saunders - work commitments have ended his through-the-week training until the end of the season (archive image).
Goalkeeper Craig Saunders - work commitments have ended his through-the-week training until the end of the season (archive image).

Hawick Royal Albert manager Paul McGovern believes his troops have lost a bit of confidence in front of goal and is searching hopefully for a new striker – as well as a back-up goalkeeper.

The Albert went down to their fourth straight East of Scotland Conference ‘A’ defeat on Saturday with a 2-0 reversal at Arniston Rangers.

Again, player unavailability in key areas, owing to injury, suspension, work and other commitments, left a fairly threadbare squad, sprinkled with trialists.

But the Albert gave a much better account of themselves than they did in recent outings – which instilled fresh hope in McGovern for tomorrow’s (Saturday) meeting with Easthouses Lily MW.

As well as some of the absentees hopefully being back, he hoped the side could draw hope from its last game against Easthouses – HRA lost 1-0 but gave one of their best performances of the season.

“It’s hard to believe we never took anything from that game,” recalled McGovern. “We hit the woodwork two or three times and had several ‘one-on-one’ chances.”

McGovern said the side lost two poor goals against Arniston but the hosts hadn’t troubled them too much and, between the goals, he believed Hawick were the better team.

“The frustrating thing for me is if we could just have had a full squad, with all our key players back, we could have got a result on Saturday,” he added. “It’s hard when you are very light.”

With renowned striker Josh Neill still finding his way back to peak fitness after injury, McGovern said they were sorely lacking firepower up front.

Also, goalkeeper Craig Saunders is unable to train for the rest of the season, because of a promotion at work, and will only be available on Saturdays. So the search is on for McGovern to find another shot-stopper who can practise with them during the week.

“The players gave their all but we know we are lacking in strength and depth,” said McGovern. “Saturday was a more encouraging performane and, hopefully, we can turn the corner fairly soon – hopefully, this week.

“I could not be too critical – I am disappointed at losing but there were more enourgaing signs from the sparse squad that I have.”