FRUSTRATED boss Carl Heeley has blamed Worcester City's off-field troubles for leaving him with a squad “nowhere near strong enough” to compete in Vanarama National League North.

With just over two weeks to go before City kick off their campaign at home to Harrogate Town, Heeley admitted his side were “lacking in quite a number of areas”.

Heeley said Worcester’s 2-0 defeat to Redditch United in the Worcestershire FA Senior Cup semi-final highlighted his team’s problems and revealed some of the players who featured on Tuesday night “were not good enough” to play for the club.

Heeley stopped short of naming individual trialists but Raajan Gill, Brad Williams and Edji Mbunga played the full match.

Fellow trialists Matt Birley, Mickael Partodikromo and Andy Gallinagh featured for 68, 32 and 20 minutes respectively, while Alex Connell and Chekaine Steele didn’t come off the bench.

The manager insisted his summer recruitment drive has been hampered by the goings on off the pitch as the supporters’ trust and City’s board remain at loggerheads over the club’s future, with calls for Anthony Hampson to quit as chairman.

“It has been the most different summer ever for recruiting players,” said Heeley, who recently resigned as a director to concentrate on managing the first team.

“That’s the fact of what we are having to deal with at the moment.

“I have lost count of how many players have said they don’t want to join the club because of all the issues we are going through.

“I can’t do anything about that. All I can do is try and sell the positives.”

He added: “I understand everybody’s frustration off the pitch, but they don’t even come close to mine — having to deal with it from this side.

“What’s happening on the pitch is what matters and we are lacking in quite a number of areas at the moment. What we have got is nowhere near strong enough. I know that.

“Collectively there is not enough in there (changing room) to put a squad together to compete in National League North.”

So far this summer, City have signed centre-back Graham Hutchison, forward Sean Geddes and midfielders Junior English and Richard Batchelor.

But having failed to snap up a player since early June, Heeley says he faces a battle to add his squad ahead of the curtain-raiser on August 6.

“We have to sit tight as there will be players available over the next couple of weeks,” he added. “But we are not on our own waiting for that situation to occur and we have got to try and take players and compete to get them.

“There have been a lot of obstacles and we are now bearing the fruit of those.”