Boss looking to plug Newmarket’s leak

WORK TO DO: Newmarket boss Michael Shinn
WORK TO DO: Newmarket boss Michael Shinn

Manager Michael Shinn has insisted he will leave no stone unturned in his bid to rid Newmarket Town of their defensive Achilles heel.

Scoring goals has not been a problem for the Jockeys of late — in the 74 matches since the start of the 2016/17 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign they have found the net on 205 occasions.

But it is at the other end of the pitch where the issues lie, with 125 goals conceded during the same period.

Eight of those have been shipped in recent home defeats to Felixstowe & Walton United and Brantham Athletic, forcing the recently-appointed Shinn to concede there is plenty of work to be done.

“They finished the season really well last year but still conceded 70-odd goals,” he said.

“It was lucky there were players at the top end — like Lewis Whitehead — to stick the ball in the net so often.

“But when you have a rough spell in front of goal, which every team does, that is when you need to be tight.

“We have had injuries, illness and suspension this season, but it is not all about the defenders.

“We have a problem when it comes to the transition between us having the ball and then losing it.

“Everyone is in this together and we have to work hard. Not only the players, but myself as well. I have to ask myself plenty of questions.

“I have a lot of belief in the lads already at the club — they are good players. But they have to want to make the changes.

“It is frustrating to concede so many goals and only we, as a group, can put it right.”

Next on the agenda is a trip to 18th-placed Walsham-le-Willows on Saturday (3pm), followed by a home encounter against Great Yarmouth Town (16th) on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Having tasted defeat in each of their previous three outings, on paper the next two fixtures look more favourable for Shinn’s 10th-placed side.

The player-boss, though, has warned his men they cannot afford to take anything for granted.

“We need to finish strongly because the start of next season is still a long way from starting,” he added.

“People are still paying to watch us play and the players are still getting paid so we have a duty to put in good performances.

“We got a good result against Walsham recently (a 5-0 win in January) but we know they have some genuine threats.”

• Newmarket will be without Jamie Thurlbourne going forward after the left-sided player opted to join Wisbech Town.

Thurlbourne rejoined Newmarket in 2015 for a third spell at the club.