Hebburn Town boss Scott Oliver has told his players they must take the pressure off star striker Channon North this season.
North hit 50 goals for the Hornets last campaign, firing them to within a whisker of promotion from the Northern League Division Two.
While he has been among the goals again this term – with 13 to his name so far – the forward has failed to deliver the consistently high performances of last season.
And with strike partner Shaun Reay also suffering a dip in form, Oliver wants the rest of the team to step up to the plate.
He said: “We have struggled to score this season – there’s too much reliance on Channon.
“He did wonderful things for us last season, scoring 50 goals.
“So far this season, he’s on 13, but we must support and help him as like many at the club, he’s frustrated with our season.
“More players need to chip in with goals.
“Channon hasn’t become a bad player overnight. He’s still up there in the goalscoring charts, but he missed pre-season and that hasn’t helped.
“He had a knee injury in the summer.
“I took him off last Saturday for the first time as he was getting frustrated with himself.
“It hasn’t helped that Shaun Reay has been in and out of the team as well – he scored 28 last season but has struggled a bit this time round too.”
Hebburn sit 15th in the Division Two table ahead of tomorrow’s home game against struggling Birtley Town, who are third-bottom and fighting against relegation.
For Oliver, a former Birtley manager, it is a chance to get one over his old club, but he admits to having a degree of sympathy with their plight.
He added: “It’s tough to see a club I have managed struggling.
“They lost their manager to Crook and I’m not sure who is in charge tomorrow but I hope they stay in the league.
“However, I expect us to make it six home wins in a row.”