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Rain is blessing for injury-hit Worcester City
8:00am Thursday 2nd January 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
THE wet weather has eased the pressure on Worcester City’s threadbare squad ahead of a busy January schedule.
City only had 16 fit players for last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to local rivals Gloucester and were facing seven games in the first month of 2014.
But yesterday’s Skrill North encounter against league-leaders Solihull Moors was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Aggborough, giving manager Carl Heeley time to rest players and assess his options.
Striker Danny Glover (dead arm) and defender Shabir Khan (hernia) were due to return against the Moors and should certainly be fit for Saturday’s visit to mid-table Bradford Park Avenue.
The enforced break also gives captain and key centre-half Graham Hutchison more time for recovery from his ankle injury ahead of the West Yorkshire trip.
With loan striker Dominic Dell and winger Niall Thompson having returned to Port Vale and Torquay United respectively, Heeley also has a few extra days to bolster his squad.
The transfer window opened yesterday, allowing Heeley to talk to Port Vale about the possibility of extending Dell’s stay for a second month.
City though still face six fixtures in January and three of those are in the next week — against Bradford PA, home to Telford United next Tuesday and at Histon the following weekend.
However, the postponement of the Solihull match leaves Worcester with just two home matches before February 1 and only one on a Saturday — against Colwyn Bay on January 18.
Although a new date for the Solihull clash will have to be found, the club rely almost exclusively on gate receipts to pay the bills.
But City’s recent schedule, combined with that of landlords Kidderminster Harriers, has tested the state of the Aggborough pitch.
Harriers hosted Hereford United on Boxing Day, two days before Worcester took on Gloucester, and are due to entertain League One high-fliers Peterborough United in a vital FA Cup third-round tie on Saturday.
Following Worcester’s match against Telford next Tuesday, Harriers are back on home soil twice in three days, facing Salisbury City on Saturday, January 11, and Woking on Tuesday, January 14.
It is a situation that is likely to keep Kidderminster groundsman Tom Allcut busy, particularly as areas of the surface were showing signs of wear and tear during the Gloucester game.
But the potential for congestion is something both clubs would have been aware of when the groundshare deal was agreed last year.