MIDFIELD prospect Simon Heslop is a doubt as Stuart Watkiss looks for big improvements in Kidderminster Harriers' toughest test yet.

They head to early Nationwide Conference leaders Grays Athletic, unbeaten in the first six games, on Saturday with Watkiss far from impressed by Harriers' last display.

Though his men beat Canvey Island 3-2 with two late goals, the manager slammed an "inept" performance and was left counting the cost of injuries to Heslop and Michael Blackwood. Impressive teenager Heslop, on an initial one-month loan deal, is rated 50-50 for the weekend after returning to his club Barnsley for treatment to an ankle injury.

Blackwood suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem and will miss the visit to last season's Nationwide South champions.

Watkiss admitted: "Simon himself reckons he's got a chance and wants to make it so that shows he's up for it. That's the attitude you need."

But the Harriers manager is pulling no punches over their prospects at Grays if his men fail to lift their standards.

He added: "We are going to have to be 10 times better just to be in with a remote chance of coming back with something.

"But I have to say that, in the cold light of day, the players showed a real will to win and tremendous never-say-die attitude to come back from 2-1 down.

"It's been a decent start to the season -- three wins, two draws and one defeat. After the summer we had I think everyone would have gladly taken that."

Harriers won 5-3 at Tamworth last night in a reserve friendly with four goals for striker Gareth Sheldon.

Lee Thompson grabbed the other strike, while Steve Burton lobbed in a spectacular own goal.

Meanwhile, the club have had some good news regarding the new transfer rules.

Conference chief executive John Moules confirmed clubs could make emergency loan signings until November 24 although the window is then shut up to January.

Moules said: "We cannot stop clubs fielding a full side and we will look at every case as it comes along.

"But it's in exceptional circumstances. There has to be an emergency like injuries or players not available."

Clubs can still sign non-contract players who were free agents on August 31 or those whose contracts have been terminated 30 days previously.