CHESTER joint manager Anthony Johnson has admitted it is proving difficult to sign a striker as the Blues' goalscoring woes continue.

Chester have managed just three goals in their last six league matches with two of those coming in the away win at FC United of Manchester. The drought has seen Johnson and co-manager Bernard Morley's side slip to seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chorley and Saturday's home defeat to Curzon Ashton meant it is just one win in six for the Blues who are in danger of losing further ground on their rivals when they make a difficult trip to Spennymoor Town this week.

Things had looked very different at the start of December when the newly arrived Akwasi Asante scored a hat trick on his debut in the 3-1 defeat of Darlington, but following a knee injury, the Dutch striker has been unavailable and faces up to three weeks more on the sidelines.

With Matty Hughes out for the season and Anthony Dudley suffering a hamstring strain last week, Morley and Johnson were forced to start 17-year-old striker Lloyd Marsh-Hughes in the game with Curzon Ashton and although Johnson was happy with the teenagers performance he admitted it is not the ideal scenario.

"It's the same conversation we're having every single week or every day with the press," said a frustrated Johnson. "Matty Hughes, our first signing, Anthony Dudley, Akwasi Asante, Shaun's the same conversation.

"We're down to our fifth and sixth choice centre forwards at times and I'm really pleased with Lloyd's performance, absolutely fantastic, but in terms of support play and what we want to be offering in those areas were are just sort of bubbling along at this moment in time.

"To get a player in who is going to replace those kinds of lads comes at a cost and of course we haven't got the money. We're creating and we're not getting battered in games and we can see where the problem is and a lot of the time you're looking at the stand and some of the solutions are sat in there.

"But let's go and score from a set piece, let one of the centre backs get a header and let's win 1-0. At the moment we just look a bit transitional and there are one or two reasons why."

Spennymoor lie in fifth place, two points above the Blues and Johnson is in no doubt about the challenge that awaits Chester following the long trip to the North East.

"They're having a really good season and I was really impressed with them in the game we played here," he said. "You talk about scoring goals and they've got the big fella up front Glen Taylor and Tuton and Ryan Hall and Robert Ramshaw in midfield who is real quality.

"But for a team I've just said are doing so well and are scoring goals, we're not that far off them. It's brilliant because we're going to start to find out what we're about now and there's plenty of work for Bernard and I and the team to do and sort out."