Brady backing Etete and Cobblers' other goal-shy strikers to come good

Town's four strikers have combined for just two goals in 11 league games between them

Monday, 11th October 2021, 11:01 am
It was another frustrating afternoon at Hartlepool for Kion Etete. Picture: Pete Norton.

It hardly requires a deep dive into the statistics to see exactly where Cobblers' main problem lies after their slide down the League Two standings continued with defeat to Hartlepool United on Saturday.

Town controlled this game for large portions but failure to turn good pressure into clear-cut chances and therefore goals left them vulnerable and so it proved as three points became one and then one became zero.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say Saturday was Cobblers' best performance of the season, at least away from home, but again a lack of quality, composure and decision-making in the final third was their undoing.

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Whilst Sam Hoskins sweetly volleyed the visitors into a 48th-minute lead, one goal was always unlikely to be enough and Hartlepool, second best for most of the contest, showed why thanks to David Ferguson's header two minutes later and then Luke Molyneux's late winner.

Town are now 14th in League Two and it's clear where the chief problem is: their four strikers - Kion Etete, Nicke Kabamba, Danny Rose and Benny Ashley-Seal - have combined for two goals in 11 league games.

"We should have put the ball in the net a few more times," accepted manager Jon Brady. "Their goalkeeper has made two fantastic saves and Sam Hoskins could have had a hat-trick.

"He tips one over the bar in the first-half and we were right in line with the one in the second-half which was going into the far corner but he just gets his finger-tips to it and that could have made for a different story.

"Kion's had a few moments but we have to be more clinical in those areas because we're not finishing the game off.

"Hartlepool don't concede many chances like that at home but we had a lot of good chances and we have to be better and more clinical in those moments because we haven't put the ball in the back of the net as much as we would like."

Etete led the line by himself at Victoria Park but whilst his work ethic and attitude cannot be called into question, a first league goal continues to elude him.

"Kion's 19 years of age and I feel he can use his body better and be cleverer in certain moments," Brady added. "But he's working extremely hard and he's probably frustrated because he's fighting for a goal.

"But I thought he played brilliantly as our number nine up there and if he scores and we win the game, he probably comes off as man of the match with the way he played.

"It's keeping the belief that it will come and that goes for all of our strikers. We've had a fair few chances but our supply needs to be better as well with our final pass and final ball and that's something we're working on."

Brady spoke about the Tottenham loanee in more detail during his press conference before Saturday's game.

Etete produced a stunning debut at Coventry City in the EFL Cup but has struggled to repeat that in the league.

"It's hard for Kion at the moment," said Brady. "Away at Coventry he scores two fantastic but different goals and I think the expectation from everyone thereafter was huge and that weighs heavy on a young player.

"His effort outside the box is unquestionable because he works very hard for the team but as a young player he will need moments where he comes out of the team to refresh before going back in.

"At U23 level they're only used to playing one game a week, maximum, but he's more desperate than anyone to score but I don't want it to be a situation for him where, psychologically, it's desperation.

"I want him to know that, when he gets an opportunity, he will be calm enough to hit the target and put it in the net so we're just trying to give him that confidence and get him into better goalscoring positions."