ANDY Preece has called on Worcester City's players to show greater fight against sides battling for their Nationwide North lives.

City lost the physical battle on Tuesday night when they slipped 1-0 at Alfreton Town, a result that pushed the Derbyshire outfit out of the relegation zone.

It was a similar story last month in another scrappy encounter, when Worcester fell by an identical scoreline to Vauxhall Motors, who replaced Alfreton to occupy the league's bottom position.

Town had the edge over City in the muscle stakes, prompting assistant manager Andy Morrison to declare afterwards that several players were not "up for the fight".

Morrison said: "It hurts me to say, but they wanted to win it that little bit more than us, because of the predicament they are in.

"In this league, about 70 per cent of games are about scrapping and winning the right to win a game. Alfreton did that and we did not show the same desire."

Preece agreed with his number two to a large extent and admits Worcester, who travelled to Alfreton on the back of a four-game unbeaten streak, failed to match the endeavour of the basement boys.

"I think Alfreton started a little bit hungrier than we did, obviously with the position they are in," revealed Preece. "We were five per cent below them. They had an edge and it took us a while to get to grips with that.

"We need to match that because in this league things can change so quickly and we could go back the wrong way if we take our foot off the pedal."

Preece added: "In these scrappy games, there's been very few chances and we don't seem to be able to get a draw out of them.

"Saying that, we are looking at two games, against Vauxhall Motors and Alfreton. If we are going to go places, we need to get points from these games. We cannot afford to be lose them."

Meanwhile, defender Chris Smith was due to make his return to action last night as City's reserves faced Feckenham in the semi-final of the Worcestershire Senior Urn.

Leon Kelly and Jai Stanley were also part of the Worcester squad.