STEVE BROWNE is stepping up his search for a striker after his men failed to score for the second week running.
The Whites boss was bitterly disappointed to come away from new league leaders Hampton and Richmond with nothing after controlling the game for long periods.
And Browne admitted: “I’m concerned we’re not scoring. We have in fact scored four goals in our last three league matches. But that’s two games running, if you include Staines in the FA Trophy, where we have not looked too good in the final third and failed to hit the net.
“We got a lot of balls into the Hampton box – although I have to admit they weren’t exactly quality deliveries – and also we’re lacking someone to convert the chances. Craig Wilkins is a good player and he is doing everything right. Once he gets one goal, I’m sure they’ll flow from him.
“I am particularly gutted by this result because I’d said only last week that basic errors were costing us dearly. Then we put in a very good performance on Saturday, looked solid, controlled the game for long periods but didn’t score.
“Their chairman apologised to our directors after the match for stealing the points off us. But that is of little consolation to me at the moment.”
Browne is known to admire Hornchurch striker Andy Douglas, who scored three goals during a loan spell at Chelmsford earlier this season, and played for the Urchins in their 5-2 FA Cup first round defeat at Boston on Saturday.
But the Dover boss confirmed he is talking to an unnamed forward, currently on trial at Bristol Rovers this week.
And he said: “The lad is trying his luck at Rovers but if things don’t come off for him he has promised to turn out for me on Saturday. He will, for sure, get goals, if he comes. But it’s not a definite as yet and I’ve got a few irons in the fire.
“We do need to be more clinical in the final third and that’s why I’ve got to go out to get someone in. I’d love to give some of the players more time but we can’t afford that unfortunately. We’ve not had the benefit of a pre-season and that’s obviously something that has gone against us.
“I have to make some decisions this week. To bring players in, I’ll have to shift some out in the opposite direction – even out on loan.”
The gap between Whites and Chelmsford, who currently occupy the last safety spot, is six points. And victories at Eastleigh on Saturday and at home to Harrow next Tuesday could see Dover level.
With this in mind, the Whites boss is not panicking yet and urges fans to keep the faith because he is confident this situation can be turned around.
He said: “I could see it on the fans’ and directors’ faces at the end of the match at Hampton how disappointed everyone was. It’s a bitter blow for everyone at the club and I understand that.
“This club should not be second from bottom is this league. But we are and I’ve brought in lots of new players to make us more competitive to give us a great chance of staying up. The two league defeats have been against the top teams in the division away from home, although I’ve seen nothing in those two games that suggests we’re worse than them.
“We look so solid and that is something to build on. When I first came here, everyone had been talking about poor performances. I don’t think we’re talking about poor performances anymore, which is good, but we’re still losing – and that’s what we’ve got to reverse.
“The team is playing catch-up but I’m not panicking and neither are the players. And the fans must not panic too.”
Warren Ryan’s loan from Waltham Forest is due to expire soon but Browne has told the board he would like to sign the player permanently.
Meanwhile, Lee Shearer is expected to extend his loan for another month and Browne hopes the club will offer him a deal too.
But Browne admitted: “I don’t want to put the club under pressure. I know we’ve got financial problems and a budget is there to stick to. Hopefully we can sort something out because Warren and Lee are two huge players for us.”