WORCESTER City have no hope of fulfilling manager Andy Preece's wish of settling in Nationwide North's top 10 after 10 matches.

But summoning a first away victory of the season at the Giant's Axe tomorrow will go a long way to repairing the damage of the first seven weeks.

Preece set his mini-target before a ball was kicked this term, although it is now a non-starter.

Due to an unhealthy combination of poor defending and regular wasteful finishing, City plummeted to third from bottom after eight games.

All months of the season are crucial, but October now stands to be a pivotal period for Worcester.

Following the long trip to north Lancashire, City host leaders Northwich Victoria and Midlands rivals Nuneaton Borough in the space of three days.

Thrown into the bargain is an FA Cup third qualifying round clash with Tonbridge Angels.

For the purposes of improving on a desperate start to the league campaign, Worcester must eliminate the costly mistakes and start hitting the winning trail.

"We are not as bad as our position suggests," said Preece. "I know we are better than where we are.

"We will assess things again after 10 games and see where we are. We're looking to get a couple of good results and it is still possible that we could be just outside the top 10.

"It's important that we keep aiming for that. It could take us to mid-table.

"Every game is big, whatever situation you are in. If you go through the calendar, every month is the same in that there are important games."

Midfielder Nick Colley grabbed a last-minute strike in February when City triumphed 2-0 at Lancaster, which proved to be Preece's first away-day victory as Worcester boss.

But Colley is highly unlikely to figure against the Dolly Blues this time after pulling his hamstring again in last Saturday's seven-goal FA Cup romp over Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

A recurrence to a thigh injury also makes full-back Les Hines a non-starter, while George Clegg (hamstring attachment) and Jai Stanley (knee) are definitely out.

Sam Wedgbury, who caused a sensation with his 20-yard strike against Bemerton, travels with the squad.

The 16-year-old was withdrawn from the FA Youth Cup fixture against Evesham on Wednesday.

On a positive note, captain Graham Hyde should return after missing the FA Cup clash to tend to his sick father, while Liam McDonald (hamstring) is fit and centre-half Justin Thompson figures again.

The only other concern is veteran striker Preece, who has suffered from headaches following his clash with Quins full-back Paul Lucas. Preece added: "I've had headaches all week and a bit of concussion. I lost consciousness for a split-second during the game. Normally, you are told not to play the next match but I'll see how I'm feeling before the game

"Hydey trained with us on Tuesday. Hopefully, for all parties, there will be no problems with his father. He is ready to play and that's good because of the injuries we have.

"Les tried to join in training but had a recurrence of his thigh injury. He's just lifted his foot up and he's felt pain. There's something not quite right and we need it checked out."