STUART Watkiss has made an impassioned plea for Kidderminster Harriers fans not to turn their backs on the club as an air of resignation descends on Aggb-orough.

The first murmurs of discontent of Watkiss's reign were heard after Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers as Harriers slipped to seven points below the survival line.

With Kidderminster's dire goal difference amounting to another point, they effectively need three victories more than Rushden to haul themselves to safety. Watkiss cut a disconsolate figure after seeing his side drop two points from their winnable game with Rovers hot on the heels of their capitulation at Shrewsbury.

And after enjoying something of a honeymoon period in the Harriers hotseat, the former Mansfield manager is seeing his tactics and team selections questioned for the first time.

He said: "I could sense the feeling from the crowd and I can understand their disappointment.

"I think their response was more to do with the fact results elsewhere went against us, rather than for our performance.

"Every supporter in the ground will have their view on whether they think we can stay up, but it is my job to keep believing.

"I honestly still believe that we can do it and I know that there is the commitment and the desire in the dressing room to stay up."

With Gary Birch set to be written off for the rest of the season after surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee, Harriers hope to have former Oxford striker Mark Rawle on board in time for Saturday's trip to Rochdale.

The ex-Boston and Southend frontman was due to report for training today after cancelling a loan deal at Tamworth and finally reaching an agreement to sign for Kidderminster for the rest of the season.

There is also a serious doubt over the fitness of defender Johnny Mullins who limped out of action with a hamstring strain on Tuesday night.

Mark Jackson, a centre half signed on an 18 month contract from Scunthorpe, is expected to be fit after sustaining a head injury against Bristol.

Fans are reminded to check the weather forecast before setting off for Spotland for Saturday's match with Rochdale.