CHRIS Smith and George Clegg are poised to be flung back into the firing line at Harrogate tomorrow as Worcester City search for a vital pick-me-up.

Both missed out on Bank Holiday Monday as City's unsatisfactory start to the Nationwide North season continued with a 2-1 home defeat to Droylsden.

Midfielder Clegg sat on the bench and is still working towards match-sharpness, while Smith was sidelined with an ankle injury picked up last Saturday at Workington.

The 24-year-old defender is quickly on the mend, despite hobbling earlier in the week, and was set to receive physiotherapy at Derby County to win his race for fitness.

With just five points gleaned so far this term, player-manager Andy Preece is desperate to include his key signings for the trip to Wetherby Road.

"Chris is a big player for us," said Preece. "I think any team would miss a player like him. We need good players and good characters like Chris in the team.

"We want him ready for Harrogate. I've been trying to get him in at Derby County to get some treatment. I knew Phil Brown (the Derby boss) from my time at Blackpool.

"We did well without Chris against Droylsden. Nobody really mentioned him because we were that close to winning the game. But we really want him out there.

"Cleggy has had a couple of half-hours in games. But he should be close after another training session. It's all about match-practice for him. He's another important player for us."

August proved a troublesome month for City's strikers, with all six league goals scored so far coming from midfield and defence.

The club's woeful finishing, highlighted in spectacular fashion over the Bank Holiday period, has proved their major downfall.

But Preece is positive the goals will come and believes his side have been short of luck.

He added: "If we were not creating chances and not getting in the right places, then I'd be worried. But I'm not. We are creating plenty of opportunities, which is a good thing.

"I don't think we have got what we deserve, without us playing at our best. When you look back at things, we are just a little bit short.

"We could be on 10 or 11 points as easily as we could be on five points. We just need that drive and desire. If we find that, we'll be OK.

"We've got to tighten up at the back too, because we've conceded some sloppy goals. And they are coming from long throw-ins and set-pieces. We should be dealing better with it."

Harrogate achieved the double over City last season and looked primed for a play-off place until Altrincham pipped them to the post.

The Yorkshire side, managed by Neil Aspin, have started inconsistently in the current campaign with two wins and three defeats, including last Monday's 1-0 loss at Worksop Town.

Preece added: "Harrogate were very unlucky at Worksop. They were in a similar situation to us at Workington, where they battered the opposition but came away losing.

"They are probably smarting from that. They've got good players and they like to play good football. It won't be easy."