STUART Watkiss is the first to admit Martin O'Connor plays a vital role in his new-look Kidderminster Harriers team -- but the veteran may be missing tomorrow.

The vastly experienced midfield anchorman hobbled off in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Exeter with a sore hamstring and Watkiss will make a late decision on the 37-year-old's fitness before tomorrow's game at Scarborough.

Player-coach O'Connor showed why he was a key player at Birmingham City and Walsall in Harriers' opening 2-1 victory over Woking last weekend.

Winger Michael Blackwood is also a doubt with a hamstring problem which may mean a full debut for loan man Taiwo Atieno, who grabbed a glorious double in the Woking win, young midfielder Laurie Wilson or forward Gareth Sheldon.

Watkiss admitted: "We'll obviously delay a decision until as late as possible but they both look extremely doubtful. It highlights the problem we've got with the depth of our squad when you break up your first 11.

"Martin will be a big player for us because of his experience, his knowledge and know-how and the way we play. We've got to wrap him up in cotton wool between games, especially when there's two in a week.

"He's here as much for his personality as his playing ability. You are not in the game as long as Martin and not as successful as him if you haven't got a bit of something to offer."

And O'Connor's possible absence is sure to affect the side's stability at Scarborough who are still searching for their first point and goal.

Nick Henry's Seadogs, with ex-Harriers defender Simon Weaver at centre-half, have been thrashed 4-0 at Hereford and pipped 1-0 at home to Morecambe so far.

And skipper Neil Bishop starts a three-match ban tomorrow after the midfielder was sent off for retaliation in their narrow mid-week defeat at the McCain Stadium.

But Watkiss, keen to bounce back from the Exeter defeat with three points, warned: "Scarborough have had two defeats so they're going to be very eager to get off the mark.

"There are no pushovers in this division and even though Scarborough aren't, perhaps, as fancied as some teams, it will be tough.

"We've already played two of the teams that are going to be there or thereabouts in this division this season and we've compared favourably to them."

The possibility of unleashing both Atieno and Iyseden Christie on the vulnerable North Yorkshire side is an exciting prospect for Watkiss though.

He added: "Both have got power, strength and pace but we have to work on it on the training ground.

"Tai's fitted in well and we've got to integrate him a lot more. You saw in the last 15 minutes against Woking what a big asset he could be.

"And when Iyseden's got three or four more games under his belt, he'll be that little bit sharper when he gets those half-chances in and around the box."