City search for drop-zone boost

IN CONTENTION: Worcester City hope Shabir Khan will be fit to face Bradford Park Avenue tomorrow.

IN CONTENTION: Worcester City hope Shabir Khan will be fit to face Bradford Park Avenue tomorrow.

First published in Sport Worcester News: Photograph of the Author by

AVOIDING relegation is Worcester City’s chief aim as they prepare to embark on the second half of their Skrill North season.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Gloucester City marked the halfway stage of the campaign and, following the postponement of the Solihull Moors match on New Year’s Day, they head to Bradford Park Avenue tomorrow (3pm) hoping to finally kick off in 2014.

But, while finishing outside of the bottom three is the long-term objective, not getting cut adrift from the rest of the pack is the short-term goal.

Although the Blue and Whites are only two points from safety, having dropped to second-from-bottom following Barrow’s 2-0 defeat of Workington, they are five shy of 18th-placed Oxford City.

With each passing week the bottom four, which also include the two Cumbrian teams and Gloucester, are in danger of getting left behind.

While there is no need for any panic buttons to be pressed, the margin for error will only become greater if the current trend continues.

Taking four points from every three games, as Worcester have recently been doing, would make it a nervy few months ahead.

But Carl Heeley’s team will travel to West Yorkshire spurred on by their last two away performances in the league, a 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Solihull Moors on Boxing Day and a 2-1 victory at Stalybridge Celtic on November 23.

Six defeats on the spin for Bradford, including five in the league stretching back to December 9, will also not have gone unnoticed at Aggborough.

Bradford, however, who beat City 2-1 in September, also knocked Kidderminster Harriers out of the FA Trophy at the Horsfall Stadium and took Steve Burr’s men to an FA Cup replay.

Worcester City’s last visit to the ground, on the opening day of the 2012-13 season, ended in a 2-2 draw after strikes from Mike Symons and Rob Elvins were cancelled out late on.

City could do with scoring two goals again tomorrow as they have failed to net more than once in any match since beating Telford United 3-0 in the FA Trophy on December 3.

With the transfer window now open, striker Dominic Dell could return for a second month from Port Vale with manager Heeley due to talk to the League One club.

Defender Shabir Khan (hernia), captain Graham Hutchison (ankle) and striker Danny Glover (dead arm) could return.

Bradford, managed by John Deacey, also hope to play for the first time in 2014 following the postponement of their New Year’s Day home match against Stockport County due to a waterlogged pitch.

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