WORCESTER City boss Andy Preece was happy with his side's fitness levels despite seeing them slip to defeat in their final pre-season game.

The St George's Lane outfit were beaten 1-0 at home by a Nottingham Forest XI, but Preece believes his players are in good shape ahead of Saturday's Blue Square North opener at home to Hyde United.

However, Preece may have to rely on several fringe players stepping up to the plate as a number of first-team regulars are struggling with injuries. Chris Smith, Shabir Khan, George Clegg and Nick Colley are all doubtful for the season's curtain-raiser, while Shaun Findlay has been definitely ruled out.

Preece said: "Against Forest, we didn't play as well as we have played in other pre-season games.

"We started well, but after the break the lads struggled a little bit. The Forest players had more energy and better movement.

"However, it was a good game for us fitness-wise. It also showed us that if we are not quite right we can get beaten and we always need to be on top form.

"The one down side to pre-season is the injury problems we've had."

Smith is nearing fitness and was able to replace Gary Walker for the final 30 minutes against Forest, while Colley was also named on the bench.

The game failed to live up to the standards of the 1-1 draw with Stockport County, as both sides failed to make the most of good opportunities.

City's best spell of the game came after 20 minutes when they won a succession of corners and had the visitors under sustained pressure.

Danny McDonnell was in fine form and was called upon to make some fine saves.

The deciding goal came on 52 minutes when a driven shot took a deflection in the crowded City penalty area, leaving McDonnell stranded.

Smith nearly equalised in the last minute with a bullet header, but Shane Redmond pulled off a fine stop.