Hereford United could plunge new boy Andy Moran straight into the fray in tomorrow's Nationwide Conference opener against Southport at Edgar Street (3pm).

Director of Football Graham Turner has swooped to sign the 20-year-old former Tranmere Rovers striker on a one-year contract after he impressed during the Bulls' pre-season friendlies.

Turner said: "He has done all right. He will need a little bit of time to settle down and get into it, but he possibly could be involved tomorrow."

Turner is also set to offer a month's contract to ex-Luton 'keeper Matt Baker, who he sees as a possible understudy to first-choice Scott Cooksey.

Baker is likely to be on the bench tomorrow, and Turner added: "It will be a month where we can have a look at him playing for the reserves."

Turner will probably leave his final selection until the last minute, although he admits that defender Paul Sturgess will probably miss out with a knee injury.

Everybody else is expected to be fit, with winger Paul Parry (ankle) and striker Steve Piearce (thigh) expected to have shaken off injuries.

Turner believes Southport will be very tough opponents and fancies them as possible title dark horses, particularly after manager Mark Wright snapped up key midfielder Mike Marsh from Kidderminster Harriers.

Turner said: "I think Southport are quite fancied by a lot of people in the Conference, particularly with their ability to sign players of the calibre of Mike Marsh, Shaun Teale and one or two others.

"They are everybody's dark horses to be a real force -- that is the standard of the side we will meet tomorrow."

Turner believes that team spirit, rather than financial clout, can help them become major players in the title race this season.

"Teams like Rushden and Diamonds and Doncaster have spent a lot of money in the summer, but nobody has bought their way out of the Conference yet.

"It is an unpredictable division and I think we have as much chance as anyone else of finishing in the top spot.

"We haven't got the financial resources of some other teams but we have some very promising young players.

"The spirit is good and we have had some stability in terms of players who have been here for two or three seasons now."

But Turner emphasised that his side must make a good start and begin picking up results against the lesser sides, which has been their Achilles heel.

"We haven't had a good start yet in the Conference, and we love playing against the better sides but we seem to come unstuck against more physical sides.

"We have to get a bit tougher ourselves."

Hereford (from): Cooksey, Baker, Lane, Clarke, Gardiner, McIndoe, Wright, James, Rodgerson, Snape, Robinson, Elmes, Piearce, Moran, Parry, Hanson, Beale, Shirley, Pitt.