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Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders wants no-nonsense centre-half after questioning side's desire to defend

Maidstone boss Jay Saunders has questioned his side's desire to defend as he targets an old-school centre-half.

Stones have shipped 56 goals this season, the second-worst record in the National League.

It's unlike a Saunders side, with Stones' success of the past few years built on a strong defence.

Maidstone boss Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone boss Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones

Maidstone conceded twice from corners at Solihull on Saturday, much to the manager's frustration.

So what's the problem?

Saunders said: "I just think it’s people having desire to want to defend. That’s the long and short of it.

"They had two centre-halves that wanted to head and kick everything and we haven’t got that.

"That’s no disrespect to Coyley, Lokko and Ach, it’s fact.

"Balls come in our box, we don’t go and attack things, we don’t have that desire to defend and that’s what you need.

"People can say they’re good players, and they are good players, but for whatever reason it’s not working as a combination and the proof’s in the pudding.

"You only have to look at how many clean sheets we’ve had this year and it’s probably two or three.

"Look at the big man for Solihull. Was he the greatest centre-half in the world? No. Did he head and kick everything? Yes. It takes pressure off you.

"We’ve got players capable of doing it but for one reason or another they’re not doing it."

Saunders wants to bring in help for Anthony Acheampong, Kevin Lokko and Jamie Coyle at the back but that's easier said than done with dominant centre-halves few and far between.

He added: "It’s an area where it’s really difficult this year.

"The amount of managers I’ve had ring me, do I know of any centre-halves, have I got any available?

"There’s just a lack of centre-halves, a lack of full-backs. It’s difficult at the moment.

"It’s not through lack of effort and we’ll keep trying.

"Admittedly, more and more players are becoming available because it’s getting nearer the deadline."

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