ANDY Preece faces a painful midfield decision tomorrow as captain Graham Hyde returns to lead Worcester City against Barrow at St George's Lane.

Veteran Hyde was absent from last Monday's unforgettable FA Cup giant-killing of Accrington Stanley -- and the original tie in Lancashire -- to care for his wife when she suffered complications after childbirth.

All is now well in the Hyde household and the 35-year-old is free to make a comeback following the birth of their baby boy.

The former Sheffield Wednesday star is included in the squad and player-manager Preece is likely to call for his experience in the midfield engine-room.

But that means heartache for Tom Warmer, Sam Wedgbury or Danny Hodnett, all of whom deserve to retain their starting place after playing a significant part in Worcester's cup heroics.

The young threesome belied their tender years with mature all-action performances that packed too powerful a punch for their better-paid Accrington rivals.

Preece said: "The way those young lads have played, it's going to be very difficult to leave them out. In fact, it's going to be difficult to leave anybody out.

"The young lads in midfield have done an outstanding job. They've really taken their opportunities and, obviously, people want to hang on to their shirts.

"It's great for us that we are strong in midfield and have competition for places."

City could be further boosted in numbers with Les Hines and Nick Colley nearing fitness.

Hines and Colley have been sidelined for over a month with thigh and hamstring injuries respectively, but the duo came through rigorous mid-week training sessions unscathed.

Midfielder George Clegg is pressing for a starting place, while Liam McDonald is expected to continue at left-back despite an ankle problem.

Striker James Smith returned to training following a neck injury, Shabir Khan aims to take part in a light session next week and Jai Stanley is to visit another knee specialist.

On the back of City's shock cup triumph and heartening league displays against Nuneaton Borough and leaders Northwich Victoria, Preece admits expectations have risen.

He is calling on another top-drawer display to lift City out of the Nationwide North drop-zone.

Preece added: "It's a challenge for the players to put in another good performance. We've shown in our last four games that we can compete with any side in this league.

"The FA Cup is over for a week. It's important we get a result against Barrow and move up the table. Hopefully, the supporters will come out again and help us out. The young lads need that support and it really drove them on in the cup.

"The supporters were behind us and they really made a difference. They have got a massive part to play."

Despite enjoying a good start to the season, Barrow have lost their last three league games and were crushed 4-1 by Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round.

Barrow boss Lee Turnbull said: "We've got a lot of key players out injured, but we'll go to Worcester and give it a go."