IT is a tribute to young loan defender Johnny Mullins that Kidderminster Harriers' fans have come to look at him as one of their own.

And popular Reading 19-year-old Mullins, who joined on a season-long temporary spell back in December, is desperate to return to the Harriers fold before their season is over.

Mullins was forced off the field with a hamstring injury in last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Yeovil Town.

It was feared he would not be seen in a red and white shirt again after 21 appearances that included important goals against Cambridge United and Cheltenham Town.

But, following intensive treatment at the Madejski Stadium, he is hopeful of still having an impact as Harriers fight against relegation back to the Conference.

That will, of course, depend on the result at Boston United today with the season drawing to an anxious end.

Mullins admitted: "I've got all parts of my body crossed that Kidderminster can stay up.

"The ovation I got when I left the field against Yeovil made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I'd like to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart.

"As soon as I came to Kidderminster, I felt I had a bond with them and the club will always have a special place in my heart.

"Long-term, I'm trying to force my way into the Reading team but I've got no qualms about going back to Kidderminster.

"You can't buy the experience I've had by coming to Kidderminster. It's been second to none and so many people have helped me."

Boss Stuart Watkiss certainly made good use of his limited loans when signing Mullins whose pace at the back proved vital.

And the defender's great leap for headers was reminiscent of former Harriers favourite Adie Smith, now a popular figure at Tamworth.