STEETON manager Roy Mason admits he fears for the future of football in Keighley.

Star defender and captain Josh Kaine is Mason's only player from the district, and Mason said: "There's a lack of football talent in Keighley at the moment, with not a lot of players coming through.

"Things are strong enough at junior level, but there are very few senior teams about.

"As for us, we've only got Josh Kaine who's a local lad.

"I do worry for the future of football in Keighley to be honest."

Keighley News: Steeton skipper Josh Kaine (second left) bucks a worrying trend at the club.Steeton skipper Josh Kaine (second left) bucks a worrying trend at the club. (Image: Ian Meachin.)

Mason also worries about Steeton's ability to keep competing against the richer sides in the North West Counties Football League First Division North.

The Chevrons could do with a free-scoring forward to follow in the footsteps of now-departed prolific duo Andy Briggs and Kayle Price.

They have only scored 21 goals in 16 league games this season, less than everyone except the current bottom three.

But Mason said: "There's a lot of money in non-league, and some players get offered silly sums that we couldn't dream of.

"When you've not got that money, you've got to look around for rough diamonds and develop your own lads.

"We've grown massively over the last five years since moving up from amateur football, but we don't get huge gates and getting sponsorship is tough given the current economy.

"We have to live within our means, and people can say we need a new striker, but you can't just get a player with our resources.

"Good goalscorers can get offers from a higher level, or from a club that can give them more financially than we can."

Steeton's attacking threat decreased significantly when they lost Manny Amole and Raeece Ellington at the start of September.

Since then they have picked up just two wins from seven games, though they still only sit six points off the play-offs.

Discussing the departure of that dynamic duo, Mason said: "Losing Manny was a blow, as he'd only been at the club for five minutes.

"I was surprised he decided to leave us so soon, but he got an offer from a higher level, so I can understand his reasoning.

"With Raeece, he got offered a professional contract out in Slovenia.

"To have the job of playing football was what he wanted, so that was fair enough.

"He's a good lad and we've been hit by his loss.

"He was so creative for us, playing behind the forwards, and he had a big part in our good start to the season."

Keighley News: Manny Amole gets set to whip in Steeton's brilliant late winner against Darwen in August.Manny Amole gets set to whip in Steeton's brilliant late winner against Darwen in August. (Image: Jordan Weatherall.)

Steeton are showing signs of life again though, winning their last league game 2-0 at home to Shelley, before a strong first-half display in particular during a last-gasp defeat to Route One Rovers in the West Riding County Cup.

With last Saturday's clash at Ashton Athletic called off due to bad weather, Steeton are currently in the middle of a 12-day gap between that defeat to Rovers and this weekend's league encounter at home to Holker Old Boys.

The Cumbrians have won their last seven games, including a cup clash against Steeton.

But Mason said: "I don't like to hide behind poor refereeing but there were some bad decisions in that game.

"We had a goal disallowed for a non-existent foul on their keeper, and that would have got our tails up, going into half-time 1-0 up.

"We also had a player sin-binned when it should have just been a yellow card and they scored when we were re-organising with 10 men.

"We took positives from that game and the lads were disappointed, because we felt we deserved something from it.

"We had a couple of big chances that we didn't take, and that's been the story of our season so far really."