ASSISTANT boss Gary Whild believes the title race in the Blue Square Bet Premier is wide open as Harriers prepare for tomorrow's clash at pacesetters Newport County.

The Aggborough outfit are fifth in the table and just five point behind leaders Grimsby.

Victory at Rodney Parade would see Harriers go above the Exiles, which would be a remarkable feat considering the teams' contrasting start to the season.

While Harriers took five points from the first ten matches, leaving them bottom, the Welsh side stormed to the top of the table.

Whild said: "The league is very open.

"There are teams as far down as tenth that will be fancying their chances of the play-offs.

"We're only a few points off the top so it is all to play for."

Harriers will include new loan signings Amari Morgan-Smith and Nathaniel Jarvis in the squad.

Danny Jackman will continue in midfield after his impressive debut against AFC Telford but Keith Briggs and James Vincent have knee injuries. Sean Clancy is also suspended.

Whild added: “Newport have had a great season to now and Justin Edinburgh  had brought some quality players in.

“It’s a lot different to when he took over there last season and, quite rightly, looking at them when we played them here, you can see why they’ve done so well this season.

“We’ve all spoken about the bad start we had and to have the potential at the beginning of February to go above the likes of Newport is a great position to be in.

“There is a long way to go yet and the way things are panning out there are going to be a few twists and turns between now and the end of the season.”

Newport are without top-scorer Aaron O'Connor and saw Lee Evans sign for Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday.

Harriers versus Newport fixtures has been thrilling affairs, with the Reds battling back from behind to win the last two matches.

In fact, 18 goals have been scored in the last five meetings between the sides.

Fans unable to make the game can follow all the action with Shuttle online's live match blog.

The clash kicks-off at 3.15pm because of the Six Nations clash between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff.