DETERMINED Andy Preece is stepping up his bid to complete Worcester City's first 2006 signing.

Over the past few weeks, the City player-manager has been rebuffed in several efforts to strengthen the St George's Lane squad.

A new striker is Preece's top priority as Worcester -- the second lowest scorers in Nationwide North -- have just four front men available.

Adam Webster and Leon Kelly are City's leading strike duo, but the partnership has struggled to rekindle last season's goalscoring feats.

Webster has netted five times in the league, with Kelly on three, while other alternatives are not yet off the mark.

Veteran Preece is without a goal since returning as manager last February and rookie Troy Wood is waiting for his full league debut.

Injured summer recruit Jimmi-Lee Jones may be out for the rest of the season with a fractured tibia to his right leg, while forgotten man James Smith is on loan at Midland Combination Premier Division side Cadbury Athletic.

Kettering Town arrive at the Lane this Saturday with former City striker Christian Moore in their ranks and Preece admits he wants to capture a new player before the Poppies clash.

"I'm still in the middle of it, trying hard to bring somebody in," said Preece.

"I'll be trying hard right until the end of the week and hopefully something will happen.

"I'm looking at different options, whether it's a short-term player or long-term, whether it's until the end of the season or the right player for next season.

"There's been times when I thought I was close, but it didn't happen. We just carry on and hopefully we will be able to bring one or two in.

Preece added: "As I've said before, the team is not playing bad. It's just a matter of getting some help for those that are playing a lot of games right now. We just need an extra body or two."

Meanwhile, Preece insists the door is still open for 20-year-old Smith, who was loaned to Malvern Town for a brief spell before Christmas and is now at Cadbury.

He added: "James can still play for us in the reserves, but he is playing for Cadbury in first-team matches. It is to get him fit and playing regularly.

"He is there to get a bit of confidence and experience. Obviously, he's seen Troy doing well in the reserves and pass him in the pecking order.

"James just needs to get his confidence back, score a few goals, and we may then see a totally different player."