Under-fire Barnes is still my number one, says Gainsborough boss
Steve Housham insists he will stick by Phil Barnes despite his number one coming under fire from a section of fans.
The Gainsborough Trinity manager has this week backed his goalkeeper to prove his critics wrong despite five consecutive defeats at the start of their Skrill North campaign.
Housham has seen his Trinity side concede 11 goals in five games, but the Blues boss says it could have been even more if it was not for Barnes.
"Phil has been hurting more than anyone following this poor start to the season," said Housham.
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"Supporters would never know this, but I have had text conversations into the middle of the night with Phil because he has been so distraught after matches.
"But of all the goals we have conceded this season, I would say Phil is maybe at fault for just three and he is the first to admit he should have done better with them.
"He is the first to hold his hands up to them and he really feels it when we lose.
"But I think about all the times he has saved this team and kept us in games.
"I will be standing by him because, on his day, there is no-one better.
"A few people might be pointing the finger at him but I have faith in his ability. I think he is the best goalkeeper in this league."
Housham, who has allowed his only other goalkeeper, Mike Emery, to go out on loan to county neighbours Lincoln United, believes the team will come good.
They have a chance to register their first points this weekend when they travel to fellow strugglers Stockport County.
Stockport have just lost their manager Ian Bogie, who resigned last Saturday. The team will be in the hands of caretaker boss Alan Lord for Trinity's visit this weekend.
"I am hoping we can put August to bed and start renewed with an improved September," added Housham.
"It's difficult to know how the Stockport players will react to the situation.
"It could put them off their game or they could double their efforts to try and impress the new manager.
"But it is a big club and a big stadium. There will be a huge crowd there and my players will be lifted by that – they are looking forward to the game.
"When I took on this job we were 13 points off the play-offs. That's where we are now so I still think we can have a good season."