HANDS up -- how many Worcester City supporters mistook their own team for those battling against Hereford United in Saturday's Conference play-off final?

Same kit, same blue and white colours. Top-to-toe, Halifax Town were decked out like City -- except for different shirt sponsors.

Unfortunately for 'Faithful' followers, a Hereford-Worcester derby is as distant as it was a decade ago following the Bulls' promotion.

What a shame, because the thought of the two rivals coming together again whets the appetite.

City officials may argue policing costs would cancel out any potential gate receipts. But it would make for terrific occasions.

Back in the day, St George's Lane and Edgar Street enjoyed huge derby gates. But the two clubs have not crossed paths competitively since the 1971/72 Southern League campaign and are unlikely to meet again soon.

With a strong Football League heritage, Bulls fans will rightly feel that they are back where they belong.

But seeing United savour their moment of glory must only add to Andy Preece's desire to deliver similar success with City.

When he took over the reigns in February 2005, manager Preece outlined a five-year plan to make a realistic Football League push.

It is an ambitious target, although he took into account progress off the field, in terms of moving to a new stadium, as well as positive movement on the pitch.

Before Christmas last year, Preece said: "We want to achieve everything we've set out to achieve at Worcester. We want to take the club forward.

"I would like to think, down the line, we can be pushing for Football League status at Worcester. That's our long-term aim and I intend to see it through.

"We have a five-year plan in place, where we want to be in the Conference and pushing towards the Football League. That's the goal. But we need to get promoted and then cement our position in the Conference.

"We are going in the right direction, but there is still the question of our new ground. That is the key to everything in moving forward."

Apart from a right wing-back, City have in place a settled squad capable of making a proper fist of promotion next season.

Importantly, key players through the spine of the team, Chris Smith, Justin Thompson, Jai Stanley and Adam Webster, are committed to the club.

There has been a feeling Thompson could up sticks at any moment if League clubs come knocking. But Preece confirmed that the big Canadian centre-half is staying.

There is also strength in depth, with Troy Wood, Gary Walker, Nat Bulmer and Dale Watkins, set to push hard for inclusion, while goalkeeper James Coates is a fine addition.

Question marks, however, hover over the future of former Bury striker Gareth Seddon and whether he pulls on a City jersey in August.

Preece is convinced his old Gigg Lane player, 26 today, will join his forward pack.

But after featuring for Bury reserves towards the end of last season -- and Shakers boss Chris Casper inviting Seddon to summer pre-season -- doubts remain that he will turn elsewhere.

That would strike a blow for City. In his one-off appearance against Stalybridge Celtic last month, it was clear Seddon would prove a class act at this level.

In hindsight, that Stalybridge game may have inadvertently placed Seddon in the shop window for others.