WORCESTER Raiders have landed the temporary signing of ex-City skipper Brad Birch – but his stint seems set to be a short one.

The Stourbridge midfielder missed out on pre-season due to a persistent knee complaint which will require surgery but with the recovery time being six to eight weeks, both player and club are keen to delay it until the closed season if possible.

Birch joined Stourport Swifts on dual registration in order to get minutes but the Midland Football League Premier Division side cut that short after one match citing fitness concerns.

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However, Glassboys boss Ian Long was heartened by Birch's display in a friendly for his parent club last week and has given the green light for Worcester-born Birch to link up with Raiders until a higher-ranked option becomes available.



“He originally registered with Stourport but they felt he didn’t perform well because he needs an operation,” said Long.

“Ideally we would want him to get game time higher up, he played a friendly for us and I felt he did quite well.

“He is a massive part of our plans and a player I tried to sign for Alvechurch last season. We want him back up to speed and he will be like a new signing when we get him in.

“We think a lot of him, we just need to get him right. He missed every bit of pre-season other than bits of rehab and upper body work.

“He probably needs a month of games. Ideally I would like to get him higher up in that time, he had an hour for Stourport but they didn’t think he was fit and it has gone a bit quiet on that front.

“I was a bit disappointed with that because it was his first game so you would expect him to be rusty. It seems like they have drawn a line under it.

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“He has been doing to odd session with Worcester Raiders and will probably get a couple of games in for them before we try to get him something slightly higher up.

“I imagine there would be takers at step four (one level below Stourbridge, two above Raiders) to be honest but he does have the issue of not driving at the moment.

“That makes this move handy for him but it is important we get him back to full fitness as soon as possible.”

The registration has gone through ahead of Raiders travelling to Smethwick Rangers in West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division on Saturday  (3pm) looking to build on three wins out of four following promotion from Division One.

Kirk Layton misses out due a one-match ban.