WORCESTER City manager John Barton has swooped to sign young Stoke City striker Richard Burgess on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old had been training with Kidderminster Harriers but failed to break into the first team, watching three games from the subs bench.

Now Barton has taken the Stourport-based forward to St George's Lane until the end of this campaign.

He was due to go straight into the squad for City's trip to Dr Martens Premier Division rivals Rothwell Town today -- possibly alongside Anton Thomas, back at the club until the summer after being released by Burton Albion.

Worcester were facing a striking crisis with Mark Owen out of action after tweaking his hamstring in Monday's game with Boston United while Sam Bowen is still out of favour and on the transfer list.

Burgess was a trainee with Aston Villa before moving to the Britannia Stadium in the summer of 1998. But he has had little joy in staking his claim for a place with the Potteries side, failing to register a game in the last two seasons.

City manager John Barton said a move to St George's Lane would be beneficial to both the club and the player.

"Richard has come to some arrangement with Stoke regarding his contract and is looking to try and establish himself.

"We had a look at him while he was at Kidderminster and I have spoken to Stoke City about him on a number of occasions.

"He is a quick lad and will give us more options up front," Barton added.

Keith Knight, Jon Purdie and Steve Lutz have all been thrown into attack over the last few weeks and the addition of Burgess and Thomas to the squad will help City's efforts to steer themselves away from the relegation fight.