REDDITCH United manager Graham Hyde has called for his side to find their defensive solidity as they face a tough test at Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title-chasers Cambridge City on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

The Reds have struggled to keep a clean sheet since the start of the year and have conceded seven goals in the last two games to further compound their problems.

A run of seven losses and one win in the last eight league games has also saw them fall into the lower echelons of the division.

However, United’s defence was given a boost with the news full-back Alex Hickman has recovered from the ankle injury which had laid him low since Christmas.

The former Walsall youth team player came through Saturday’s 3-2 friendly win over Earlswood Town successfully and is expected to return to the side.

Goalkeeper Dean Coleman is also expected to have recovered from the ankle injury which saw him miss the 4-3 loss to St Albans City a fortnight ago.

“This is a very tough game but I do believe the group of players we have at the club can beat any team in the league on their day,” said Hyde.

“We’ve had a bad run of results since Christmas but apart from the Hinckley defeat, we’ve only lost by one goal — we’ve got to get back to winning games.

“Alex Hickman came through Saturday OK and hopefully he’ll be back, which is a lift for the defence because we have got to get back to being hard to beat and keeping clean sheets.

“I was looking at Manchester City’s defensive record and they’ve conceded 19 goals in 25 league games and that could be the deciding factor in them winning the title. It’s the mark of a quality team to keep the other side out and we need to get back to that.”

United will be hoping to get back into action after Saturday’s home league clash against Frome was called off because of a frozen pitch, their second game in a row to be postponed.

Despite lack of league action, the club organised games against Stratford and Earlswood, with the latter clash lit up by a Luke Benbow hat-trick.

Hyde said: “With games being off, we’ve had to rearrange a few things but the most important thing was to make sure the lads were ticking over in terms of fitness.

“We’ve managed to play a few games on the 3G pitches in Studley and that has been a big help.”

Winger Stuart Hendrie, the younger brother of former Aston Villa and Kidderminster Harriers midfielder Lee, looks set to make his debut after joining on-loan from Hinckley United for an initial month.

The 22-year-old started out at Atherstone before securing a move to League Two side Morecambe. After a brief loan spell at Tamworth, he joined Hinckley last summer but spent most of the season at Division One Central outfit Daventry, where he scored eight goals.

“Stuart’s in for a month and hopefully we can keep him a bit longer,” added the Redditch boss. “He’s got ability but his work rate is also excellent, so he fits in well with the squad.”