TOWN manager Peter Jackson revealed some of the difficulties in his hunt for strike signings today while rallying his troops for the home clash with Darlington.
Jackson has been in touch with two Premiership clubs about potential replacements for Jon Stead, who will go straight into the Blackburn squad at Middlesbrough this weekend.
On both occasions, however, the players concerned did not want to drop below Division I level for a loan spell, so it's now increasingly likely that Nat Brown, Jon Newby and possibly Andy Booth will be given the nod for this Saturday with no new arrival on the horizon.
"People think you can just go and take someone out of the Reserves at a Premiership club, but it's not that easy," admitted Jackson.
"When I was here the last time, we were in Division I and people were clamouring to come here and have a game, but it's not the same nowadays.
"It has nothing to do with finances, it's just the fact that the majority of lads at Premiership level don't want to drop to this standard and take it on."
Jackson, coach Terry Yorath and chief scout Jeff Lee will continue to check on a list of six potential targets, but the manager is also eager to let his current frontmen have a go.
"Anyone coming in will have to be absolutely right for us - I'm not going to sign a striker simply for the sake of it," he said.
"Lads like Nat Brown, Jon Newby and Andy Booth have a big chance now and, if they do well, then that will be fantastic and it will buy us even more time to decide what's best to do.
"If they do the job full stop then we might not have to bring anyone in until, perhaps, we get an injury problem, so they've got everything to play for."
While the focus is on the strikeforce following Stead's £1.25m departure, Jackson is just as keen for his defence to keep their vice-like grip against Darlington as Town hunt a seventh straight win.
"The defence have done magnificently and it's vital they maintain that form in this important spell of games we've got coming up," he said.
"Efe Sodje has been at his best recently, Steve Yates is just Mr Consistency and Nathan Clarke has been truly outstanding.
"It's only fair to mention Phil Senior, too, because he has taken over from the keeper I rate the best in our division and made it very difficult for him to get his place back.
"Without being overused in any of our games, Phil has made crucial saves against York and Doncaster and his record of four clean sheets and only two goals conceded in the last six matches speaks for itself."
* The Patrons stage their annual quiz tomorrow night (8.00) with teams from the club, Patrons, Supporters Club and media taking part.