FC CLACTON boss Kieron Shelley believes his side are lacking a “fox-in-the-box striker”.

The Seasiders suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Gorleston in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division on Saturday.

Shelley was more than satisfied with his side’s work-rate and effort but admitted they fell short in the final third.

“We’ve got some very good players at the club who will always give absolutely everything,” he told the Gazette.

“They want to get forward and chip in with goals.

“However, the one thing we’re missing is an out-an-out striker – someone who knows the position inside out and has been playing up there since the age of seven, eight, nine or ten.

“The difference between the sides on Saturday was their number nine (Joel Watts). He didn’t stop running for the whole game and despite leading the line on his own, he made it seem like they had three players up there.

“I told my players to go home and think about his performance.

“He got his rewards but we don’t have someone in that mould.

“I’m not knocking my players and couldn’t fault their effort or commitment, but we haven’t got that striker with a natural instinct to put the ball in the back of the net.

“We’re finding it a bit tough at the moment because we haven’t got that fox-in-the-box striker who’s sniffing around the six-yard box. The off-the-shoulder striker who wants to be selfish.

“We created chances and held the ball up well in a bitty, scrappy game but we just didn’t have someone to put the ball in the back of the net.

“It’s a bit of a monkey on our back at the moment.”

Gorleston’s Nathan Russell netted with a tap-in, after the ball was crossed from the left, and Sean Perfect made the points safe with a near-post header from a corner after 88 minutes.

Jake Plane nearly put the hosts on level terms when he rattled the bar late in the first half.

“We probably came out on top in all areas apart from the one that counts – the goals scored – and when that happens, it puts pressure on the guys at the back,” added Shelley, who takes his side to Wroxham on Saturday.

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board (in terms of bringing in a striker) but it’s difficult because there are other clubs in the area.

“Do we look outside the area? I’m not so sure. In the meantime it’s about juggling things round and trying to find the right formula.

“The boys have got heart and desire and they don’t like losing.

“But we’re now looking for that bit of quality to finish games off.

“On this occasion it wasn’t there, although we certainly showed the hunger, desire and effort.

“Hopefully something will click.

“Maybe someone will walk through the door and say ‘I’m the man you’re looking for’ or one of the boys already at the club will step up to the plate.”