WORCESTER City boss John Barton is backing teenage goalkeeper Paul Wyatt to rise to the challenge at Ilkeston Town tom-orrow (3pm).

Wyatt is drafted in for only his second league app-earance, with Danny McDonnell ruled out by a one-match suspension for his opening-day dismissal at Tamworth.

But Barton is confident that Wyatt will cope as well as he did on his debut, in the final game of last season at Clevedon.

He said: "Paul acquitted himself very well at Cleve-don at the end of last season, and it is another opportunity for him to gain some experience and confirm the potential that we think he has got."

Barton planned to check on the fitness of defender Martin Weir (groin) and midfielder Ian Cottrill (virus) at training last night and is hopeful they can slot into an already heavily-depleted squad.

Midfielder Paul Carty (broken toe) and winger Ian Reed (hamstring) face up to a month on the sidelines following injuries picked up in last Saturday's 4-2 home defeat against Stafford Rangers.

Barton is also hoping for a return to form from star striker Mark Owen, who is still looking for his first league goal of the season after four games.

Barton is anxious for his side to hit back after their Bank Holiday disaster, which saw them lose twice and concede eight goals in the process.

But with his side virtually picking itself at the moment, he knows it won't be easy, particularly with a home clash with Clevedon to follow on Monday.

He is in no doubt as to the root cause of their holiday woes, saying: "The performances over the weekend were very poor and we got exactly what we deserved out of the games.

"We need to stop giving goals away and making mistakes.

"Conceding goals is the biggest knocker of confidence of all. We have done that in two games, and it has taken yards out of us and put yards into the opposition.

"The players have to be up for it, and the beauty of the situation is that when we have had indifferent games, very quickly another fixture comes round."

He said of Ilkeston: "They have something to prove as well.

"They have had a similar start to ourselves, but on their home ground they always provide a daunting test for any opposition."

Worcester (from): P. Wyatt, Bradley, Jukes, Tucker, Weir, Heeley, M. Wyatt, Cottrill, Owen, Lutz, Deakin, Joyce, Hyde, Jefferson, Scheppel.