CHRIS Smith is delighted to be re-united with Stafford old boy Dennis Pearce -- despite the fact he may scupper his recall chances.

Injured Smith faces a stern test winning back his defender's jersey at Worcester City once he recovers from a problematic left knee.

The 25-year-old would expect to slot straight into the City rear-guard, following an excellent first half to the season, but Pearce's early eye-catching displays may force a longer than predicted wait.

Ex-Redditch man Pearce arrived at St George's Lane this month and Smith knows all about the versatile left-footer from their days at Marston Road last season.

"Dennis has done a great job in defence," said Smith. "But it doesn't surprise me. I knew him from Stafford and I know what sort of player he is.

"We've looked really solid since he's been there. We've only lost once over the last couple of weeks when Dennis has been in the side. It's going to be a battle to get my shirt back off him.

"He's got a great left foot. He's very good in the air and very quick. He can play in a number of positions and he's got that little bit of experience."

Another former Ranger, speedy striker Mark Danks, has made a grand entrance at Worcester.

Danks shot down Hinckley United on Tuesday night with a brilliant brace as City brushed aside the Knitters 3-1.

His double salvo failed to shock Derby-born Smith, who spotted the 21-year-old's deadly finishing at Nationwide North's current leaders.

Smith added: "Mark was at Stafford on loan last season and I think he's probably one of the best finishers in this league. Everybody saw that on Tuesday night. He only had two chances and he scored two goals.

"Mark works hard. He's not the biggest or strongest, but he's very quick and has two very good feet.

"He can score goals from anywhere. He was at Wolverhampton Wanderers when he was younger, so he's been schooled well. His technique is excellent."

Smith could return to training in the next 10 days, as early scans showed no serious knee damage.


It was feared he may require an operation, but the injury was highlighted to be no more severe than bone bruising with a tear to the posterior cruciate.

Smith added: "It's quite uncommon for the posterior to be vulnerable. I think Alan Shearer did his cruciate, so it's lucky that it's only a tear. You can play through it by strengthening the knee.

"I've not really had a bad injury before. I had my cartilage last year on my right knee. That was the longest I've been out for an injury.

"I hate being injured and, to be honest, I hate having to watch. I like to come and see the boys, but I hate watching because I want to be out there.

"Obviously, I can't play or think about playing at the moment. I've been told by a physio that I need to build up the knee for a week and if there is no reaction, I can go through full training."