Peter Thorne could be fast-tracked into his first league action for more than five months.

Stuart McCall is ready to add the veteran striker to City’s squad for Saturday’s must-win clash at Torquay.

Thorne came through an hour of Wednesday’s reserve game and scored but he was not expected to be summoned for first-team consideration so quickly.

But with McCall desperate to halt the slide, the City chief believes the 36-year-old’s experience could be key.

“He’s by no means physically ready to start the game but, with the goal record he’s got, it would be good to have him to come off the bench with 15 or 20 minutes left,” said McCall.

“He might not have had that many touches of the ball the other night but no surprise that the most important touch he got was a goal.

“If you’ve got the opportunity to have a goal-scorer on the bench then you have to take it. He might end up being the hero for us.”

Midfielder Steve O’Leary, who is set to get a new deal until the end of the season, played 45 minutes of the same game but came off with a bang on the neck. He was also lined up to travel, providing the problem had cleared.

McCall, who is still missing top scorer James Hanson, is keen to utilise all his options as the uncertainty mounts over his own future.

Skipper Zesh Rehman will pay the price for the defensive short-comings at Lincoln. Steve Williams, his second-half substitute at Sincil Bank, takes over.

Defending has featured heavily in training this week but only a win at Plainmoor will lift the gloom that has enveloped the club since Christmas.

McCall will not allow anyone to feel sorry for themselves and said: “It’s not like they are going overseas to fight for their country. We’re asking them to go down south, defend a goal and win a football game.

“Torquay aren’t on the greatest run of form either, so it’s not as if we’re up against a team with a great load of confidence. It’s down to whoever wants it most.

“As each game goes by and you’re not winning, the tension and anxiety grows. But what do you want to do, work elsewhere or play football for a living?

“The only way to get out of this is to battle away, get back out on the pitch and do your level best. You won’t change anything by crawling under a shell and sulking about. You’ve got to face it.

“We can’t influence what’s gone past us. Those results have gone. You can’t give anyone a pill for confidence. It comes with playing well and getting good results and that’s why we desperately need a victory on Saturday.”

Torquay’s midweek draw at Barnet, secured by a late own goal, stretched their winless run to five games but they are still seven points clear of the second relegation spot.

Boss Paul Buckle has turned to youth after 37-year-old captain Chris Hargreaves rejoined Oxford this week. The side that finished at Underhill had an average age of 22.

Torquay are hoping Southampton will agree to extend right winger Jake Thomson’s loan.