Hythe manager Steve Watt says his young players must grow into leaders.
The Cannons’ inexperience showed in their 3-0 FA Trophy First Qualifying Round defeat at Merstham on Monday night.
It’s been a concern for Watt all season, despite a promising start to the campaign.
The signing of former Corinthian midfielder Jack Mahoney from Glebe is a step in the right direction and Watt is looking for another experienced head.
At the same time, he’s called on existing players to show what they can offer.
“We need to get a leader in,” said Watt. “We’re a young squad and we need a bit more experience in there, someone to talk, someone to organise.
“I’m not just saying this after a couple of losses, it’s something I noticed after we won at Corinthian in the first league game and I’ve brought it up since after other good performances.
“It’s becoming an issue. I look at that Trophy game and with an organiser in there, an older head, we might not lose.
“That’s what we need, someone who’s constantly talking. They don’t even have to be the best player.
“It’s not a bad squad, it’s a very good squad, with a lot of talented young players.
“We went down the route of signing young players because of budget restrictions and the type of player I’m talking about costs money, particularly with what some of them are getting in our league this year.
“It’s not that what we’ve done isn’t working, I just think the players need a little bit of help. If I just bounce along from game to game, I’m not doing my job.
“If I see an area we need to improve, I’ve got to try and do it. I won’t make signings for the sake of it, it’s got to be the right player and the right personality to fit in.
“You’re also looking for your young players to step up and grow into leaders. We need them to step up and be men.
“Someone like Liam Smith, the captain, he’s played with Sonny Miles and Tom Wynter in his career, players who are natural leaders, so he hasn’t had to be.
“But there comes a point in your career where you’ve got to learn from these players and show you can do it.”
Hythe, who don’t play this weekend, are in Isthmian South East action at Sittingbourne on Tuesday.