MANAGER Mark McLean hopes Halstead Town's goal shyness in their final couple of pre-season outings will fire up his players to find their scoring touch when their Thurlow Nunn League division one south campaign gets under way on Saturday.

Halstead concluded their summer fixtures with 1-0 defeats by Witham Town and Saffron Walden Town and while he was mostly pleased with his team's displays, McLean was frustrated that none of the many chances they created were converted into goals.

They now start their season on Saturday when they host Wormley Rovers at the Milbank Stadium and the Humbugs boss hopes that his players will want to take out any frustration on their visitors.

He said: "We're getting the chances but we're just not putting the ball away at the moment. "I thought we were very competitive again against Saffron Walden, especially in the first half when we were excellent but we're not putting the ball away at the moment and we were done by a single goal again.

"It's not necessarily a concern as we're still creating so much, but it is a bit as I'd said to them before the game that I didn't want us to have not scored at the end.

"We were brilliant against Concord and didn't score, we were excellent on Saturday against Witham and didn't score and I don't want that to become a habit. "But I was really happy with the open play from us.

"We had a lot of players who weren't there and those who stepped in did a great job.

"We got done for the penalty with a bit of naivety but we gave another good side a good test.

"Saffron Walden will go well in the Essex Senior League again this year and they have the resources to do well, but we have shown that we can compete with anybody.

"The only frustration would be that it's another reverse when you'd have been happy with a 0-0.

"I thought we deserved that, but it wasn't to be and hopefully that little bit of anger will take us into the weekend.

"We had five or six really good chances in the first half when we perhaps were taking an extra touch rather than pulling the trigger and that's what I don't want to see from us. "We need to get that out of the way.

"To create five or six clear-cut chances in a half, you really have to be taking an amount of them because then you don't get in that position.

"This was a great guide for us in where we need to be when we go into the FA Cup, but we need to start fast on Saturday in the league.

"It's been really interesting because in three of the first four pre-season games we scored 13 goals.

"We've then stepped up the levels of who we've been facing and we haven't stopped creating the chances; I'd be more concerned if we weren't getting the chances and were getting outplayed but we're not at all.

"That's plain to see so it's a difficult one.

"I'm very comfortable with where we're at.

"The injuries we've got are the only concern but every team has injuries at some point and what the boys have shown is that we have strength in depth now. "Ability-wise we are still there and we just have to make sure we're doing enough to win games, especially in our own league which is where it really matters."

McLean said Ricky Gardener would be missing for the season's opener with a hamstring injury, while there were also doubts about Jake Brown and Connel Dunlop, who both also had hamstring problems, while Joe Morris and Chris Harris may be unavailable.