Strikers need to take pressure off the defence, says Jimmy Dack

NEWPORT County AFC assistant manager Jimmy Dack says the club’s strikers need to take the pressure off the defence at Portsmouth today.

After recording five clean sheets in a row the Exiles defence have had a bad week, conceding nine goals in three games as they exited the FA Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

County scored three to beat Chesterfield in their last League Two outing on December 1 and two in defeat at Kidderminster last Saturday.

But Danny Crow, who headed in against Chesterfield, is the only striker to score in the last six games and Dack says the front men need to start taking their chances.

“The Kiddy game was probably the worst we’ve played all season defensively,” said Dack.

“Against Peterborough I thought we did quite well and we were pretty solid even though we lost 3-0 in the end.

“I think we need to take our chances at the other end and take the pressure off the defenders.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the forwards because they’re working hard but they’re not going in at the moment.

“We’re missing Chris Zebroski who is our top goalscorer.

“Conor Washington has been immense for us since he’s been here but it is a lot of pressure on him to lead the line. He’s a young lad but he’s relishing it.

“George Barker is knocking on the door,” he added. “He’s working hard in training but you’ve got to earn a starting place and he’s only just come into a tight group of players.”

Dack says County have deserved more away from home so far this season and will be aiming to improve on their record of only one win on the road in League Two.

“It is frustrating because we’ve only really played badly twice – at Kidderminster and Rochdale,” he said.

“There aren’t many teams that go away and play three at the back so we’re sending out the signal that we’re not here to defend, we’re here to win.

“We should have won at Oxford and Cheltenham and there are thin lines.”

But the Exiles assistant boss says the ‘new manager’ effect is something to consider at Fratton Park this afternoon with Richie Barker in the Pompey hotseat for the first time.

“Any team is going to be trying to impress when a new manager comes in and we’re fully aware of that,” he said.

“We played really well against them at home but it’s going to be a different game at Portsmouth.

“They’re not in great form themselves and the big crowd brings its own pressures so it will be a good tie.”

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