WORCESTER City have handed Jon Narbett a chance to get over a three-year in-jury nightmare.

Saturday's home game with Halesowen was former Hereford United midfielder Narbett's first full game since suffering a cruciate ligament injury while playing for Ches-terfield in 1996.

Narbett, who has signed for the St George's Lane club on a match-to-match basis, is grateful to manager Graham Allner for giving him the opportunity to kick-start his career again.

The 30-year-old has spent the last two years recovering his fitness at Kidderminster Harriers after being forced to retire from League soccer, so was already well known to Allner.

"It has just been a disaster since my injury, but Graham has stuck with me.

"It is now a matter of gaining match fitness and getting my game going again."

Narbett started his career with Shrewsbury Town before former Hereford boss Ian Bowyer took him to Edgar Street in a £30,000 deal, where he spent four years and played over 150 games.

That was followed by a £70,000 move to Oxford United, and after a brief spell playing in Sweden, he spent two years at Chesterfield before disaster struck.

"The injury came right at the end of the season, and I tried to stick with it but eventually decided that it had got the better of me.

"The knee is fine now but it is secondary injuries that are the problem because I have been out for so long."

He didn't make a first-team appearance at Aggborough after needing more operations, but had a six-game run-out with Evesham United earlier this season to build up his fitness.

When Allner joined City, Narbett was one of his first signings, and he is looking forward to life at St George's Lane.

"Graham has been brilliant with me. I don't think he would have stuck with me if he didn't think he would get a player out of it at the end."

City make the long trek to Hastings Town on Saturday in the Dr Martens League Premier Division, and then entertain Salisbury City next Monday.

City's reserves are at home to Nuneaton on Saturday, while the youth team entertain Pershore Town next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Worcester hot-shot Mark Owen has moved up to equal third place in the Dr Martens Premier scoring charts.

The 21-year-old's double strike against Halesowen took his tally to 15 -- three behind the leader, Weymouth's David Laws.

Wednesday, March 3, 1999.