ANDY Preece is eager to pile more misery on managerless Redditch United tonight as Worcester City look to win the first of several games in hand.

City will leap-frog Hednesford Town if they beat their Worcestershire derby rivals at the Valley Stadium (7.45), in a fixture abandoned last month due to a waterlogged pitch.

And it seems Worcester have struck the perfect opportunity to face the Reds, following the resignation of manager Rod Brown after Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Harrogate Town.

Brown stepped down citing the club's financial difficulties, while United are also slumped in the league's bottom six after losing 12 of 20 games and shipping 45 goals.

Player-manager Preece insists Wor-cester will approach the game in normal manner, unsure whether Brown's departure could leave Redditch unorganised.

He prefers to concentrate on his own side, confident that City can continue their good recent form and garnish all three points.

"We've got to approach this game as we would do any other game," admits Preece. "I don't know whether it's a help or a hindrance that Redditch are without a manager. We will find out tomorrow night.

"It's been a strange month for managers. I think that's four of five managers in our league that have resigned or been sacked. Where it looked like everybody was being patient, suddenly there's been a knee-jerk reaction. It's just the nature of the job.

"But this is a derby and anything could happen. And you cannot say that form will go out of the window here, because both clubs are close together at the wrong end of the table. But we are playing well and I'm confident we can pick up the points."

City have five games in hand on a clutch of sides behind the play-offs and, mathematically, they can storm to sixth place by winning every match.

That stands to be a tall order -- especially as Worcester are yet to register an away win in Nationwide North this term -- and only the very optimistic City supporter is expecting a maximum 15 point haul.

But Preece believes tonight is an ideal time for City to kick-start their flagging league campaign.

He added: "We must aim to win every game that we can. We've got five games in hand on a lot of teams in the top half of the table. If we can win three and get a couple of draws, or get three wins, a draw and a defeat, that will take us well into mid-table. But the aim is to win all those games.

"We could definitely do with three points at Redditch."

Veteran defender Des Lyttle (cut foot) and top goalscorer Adam Webster (virus) are both expected to return to City's starting line-up.