NEWPORT County AFC striker Christian Jolley knows the pressure is on to end his goal drought but he’s praised the club’s fans for their patience this season.
Jolley will always have a place in Exiles folklore for his opening strike in the historic Conference play-off final win over Wrexham at Wembley last May.
But his goal in the 4-1 home win over Accrington Stanley on the opening day of the League Two season was his last in a County shirt.
Two months on the sidelines with a groin injury didn’t help but Jolley has struggled for form and confidence since his return to the side in November.
Now he’s hoping to rediscover his goalscoring touch against the same opponents as Justin Edinburgh’s men make the trip to Lancashire to take on Stanley at the Crown Ground this afternoon.
“The opening day was good for me and the team but I need a goal now and I’m hoping that once I get one it will snowball,” said Jolley.
“The gaffer has told me to concentrate on my overall game and hopefully the goals will come.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I played against Northampton last week and I need to get my performances back to where they were,” he added.
“I’m my biggest critic and I’ll be disappointed if a goal doesn’t come soon but at the same time I need to make sure my performances don’t suffer either.
“The fans have been brilliant with me. I haven’t heard any negativity at all and I think they know the sort of characters we are in this team.
“We beat ourselves up when it doesn’t go well so we don’t need anyone else to do it.”
Jolley is excited by the signing of fellow striker Rene Howe and believes the former Burton Albion man will play a key role.
“I’ve played against Rene and he’s a handful,” said the 25-year-old. “He’s such a presence up front and he can do something that none of the other strikers at the club can do; he can bully centre-halves.
“We try to dictate the game every time we play but sometimes it goes to the cliché of League Two football of pumping the ball up to a target man. But none of us are target men so it’s a great signing.
“Hopefully he can take some centre-halves out of the game and the rest of us can benefit from that.”
Jolley is convinced that County can boost their promotion hopes with a win against relegation-threatened Accrington today after back-to-back defeats to Burton and Northampton.
“We need to show some character now and I think we’re ready for Accrington,” he said.
“This is a test but we know it’s not panic stations. We just need to impose ourselves and make sure we do the job.”