WORCESTER City are facing the Nationwide North champions-elect this Saturday -- according to player-manager Andy Preece.

City host leaders Northwich Victoria, unbeaten in nine league matches, at St George's Lane on Saturday.

Steve Burr's side were relegated from the Conference last season because their ground failed to meet league criteria, despite finishing above the drop zone after having 10 points deducted.

But Preece, who also pits his players against second-placed Nuneaton at the Lane on Monday, believes Northwich are more than equipped to regain their place in the top tier of non-league football at the first attempt.

"They are going to be right up there," he said. "Northwich Victoria are probably going to run away with the league.

"They are looking a different class and Nuneaton are another good side.

"We have got some tough games coming up."

He added: "Northwich were unlucky to go down from the Conference last season. They had 10 points deducted and still avoided the relegation zone.

"They've kept the same squad and added one or two players to it. They are also a full-time club and that's a massive advantage. I would expect them to stay at the top.

"So far, they've scored lots of goals and are good in defence. They are a tough proposition."

City were dealt a further blow ahead of the encounter after Liam McDonald went off in the latter stages against Tonbridge in last Saturday's FA Cup victory.

The midfielder hobbled out of the match with an ankle problem with 12 minutes left, although Preece, the man who replaced him, is still hopeful McDonald will be fit for the weekend.

City romped through in the FA Youth Cup second qualifying round with a 3-1 victory at Forest Green Rovers.

Ollie Clarke, Sam Wedgebury and Alex Woodhouse scored the goals.