COACH Bill Athey is urging his Worcestershire players to shake off yesterday's NatWest Trophy defeat against Surrey and step up their bid to move into the top half of the County Championship table.

"It's the end of the NatWest Trophy for us, but it's not the end of the world," he said as he prepared the County for their Championship match with Kent which opens at New Road tomorrow.

"If we win that then we will be in the top half of the table, so we have got an awful lot to look forward to."

Worcestershire, who are currently in 12th spot, need a top nine finish to be in the first division next year.

Athey said: "Naturally, we are very, very disappointed about yesterday's result. We were probably 20 runs too light when we batted.

"Then, of course, when you miss opportunities to get people like Graham Thorpe out you tend to pay quite heavily for that and we have done. We had our chances but, unfortunately, we put them down and paid the consequences. We've now had one bad result in the last three weeks, so it's not the end of the world."

Athey, however, praised England duo Thorpe (91 not out) and Mark Butcher (54) who steered Surrey to a five wicket victory with a 142-run fourth wicket stand.

"They played fantastically well on a very difficult wicket. It swung, seamed and turned. Ian Salisbury turned it and so did Saqlain Mushtaq but then again he's a world class bowler. It was a difficult wicket to score runs on."

Worcestershire, meanwhile, are likely to make one or two changes from the side which played in their last Championship match at Northamptonshire.

Opener Philip Weston, who has not played a first team match since May 10 because of an ankle injury, will come into contention if he passes a fitness test today.

Batsman Elliott Wilson, back from university, could also earn a call-up.

Worcs (from): Pollard, Spiring, Hick, Solanki, Moody (capt), Leatherdale, Rhodes, Lampitt, Illingworth, Newport, Sheriyar, Weston, Wilson.