WORCESTER City boss Carl Heeley is demanding a “reaction” from his players in tomorrow’s Vanarama National League North battle against struggling Altrincham at the Victoria Ground (3pm).

City’s defensive frailties against balls whipped into the box were exposed in last Saturday’s 5-1 drubbing at high-flying Darlington.

Altrincham are third from bottom and suffered a 3-2 midweek home defeat against fellow strugglers Bradford Park Avenue, who registered their first league success of the season.

But Heeley believes Altrincham will provide a “tough test” for City, who are 14th in the table and seeking a third league win at their temporary Bromsgrove home.

“It’s going to be a tough test for us, make no bones about it,” said Heeley, who wants a big improvement in his side’s defensive duties.

“It’s tough when you are down towards the bottom of the league and Altrincham will be scrapping for their lives.

“Equally, it’s an important game for us because we are desperate to pick up points and get back to what we were doing prior to the Darlington game.

“We want to get as many points as we can and I am looking for a reaction from the players because the result at Darlington was very disappointing.”

According to Heeley, City have no new injuries to worry about and centre-half Tom Sharpe should be available after missing last Saturday due to “personal reasons”.

Altrincham are managed by the vastly-experienced Jimmy Harvey, the former Hereford United midfielder, who has been in charge of Forest Green Rovers, Chester and Morecambe among other clubs.

Northern Irishman Harvey was in charge at FC Halifax Town last season but could not prevent the Shaymen from falling through the National League trap door.

Heeley said: “Altrincham came down from the National League last season and it’s a bit of a surprise to see where they are in the table at the moment.

“At the beginning of the season and with the players they had, I thought they would be a top-10 side.

“They still have a number of players who were with them when they came up from the North the previous time, so it is a surprise to see where they are.

“But Jimmy is a vastly experienced manager and there’s probably no one more experienced than him in this league. He was appointed in September and will be aspiring to improve their results.”

The struggling Moss Lane outfit have won just once in 15 league matches and Harvey described their defending as “shocking” in Tuesday’s loss to relegation rivals Bradford.

“We are not good enough by a long stretch but defensively we were shocking at times,” lamented Harvey after the match.

“We are fire-fighting and have to plug the gaps. The way we have been playing recently has not been good enough.”