Hartlepool United’s Carl Magnay believes star striker Niko Muir is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
But the former Pools skipper is backing the summer signing to bag a healthy goals tally in his first season at National League level.
Magnay is a massive fan of the Muir, picked up by manager Matthew Bates in the summer from Isthmian League outfit Hendon.
He does, however, feel the frontman is struggling to fill two roles for Pools at the moment - and, as a result, must be cut some slack.
“It is difficult for Niko in some ways, because he is a more footballing type of striker,” said Magnay, of Muir, who netted his third goal in 11 games against Eastleigh last Saturday.
“When you do that, you’re not always between the sticks, six yards out, as much as you’d like.
“It is difficult to do both, which he can by the way.
“But it is hard to be a 20-goal a season man and be the link up player up top, too.
“He will still end up with a good tally either way, there is no doubt about that.”
While Magnay knows it will be hard for Muir to juggle being link man as well as goalscorer for Pools this season, he thinks there are few strikers at this level who possess his quality.
And for that reason, Magnay knows Pools are very lucky to have the 25-year-old.
“I was delighted for him. I went straight over to him when he’d scored and said that to him,” Magnay said, referring to Muir’s weekend strike.
“His all round play is class. Everyone can see that.
“His link up play is very good and he is one of the reasons we are able to create so many chances in games.
“We can sustain pressure because he brings so many other people into the game with his hold up and movement.”
Having slipped up at the Super 6 Stadium last weekend, Pools head on their travels this, with Halifax Town and Salford City lying in wait.
“We go into away games with confidence,” said the defender.
“At home we are more entertaining but we have a mentality to dig in away.
“That works better away, we are dogged. We dig in.
“At home we get on top of teams so easy, we sometimes allow little errors to creep in.
“We are unbeaten but that only lasts to the next game. We will be working hard to keep it that way and get positive results on the road.”