CROCKED Chris Smith faces an anxious wait over whether he requires a knee operation.

Worcester City player-boss Andy Preece admits there is a 70 per cent chance that centre-half Smith damaged cartilage to his left knee during the 1-1 draw against Stafford Rangers.

It was initially thought that Smith, who has missed City's last three Nationwide North games, had suffered bone bruising.

But concerns are now heightening that the 24-year-old sustained a more severe injury that may put him out of action for a further six weeks.

Smith will see a specialist in his home city Derby later this week and, despite the odds, Preece is keeping his fingers crossed that his summer signing avoids the need for surgery.

"Chris is going to see another specialist by the end of this week," said Preece. "I reckon there's a 70 per cent chance that he will need an operation, but you never know.

"We've had it looked at ourselves and we are now having a second opinion. We could be looking at six weeks if he needs an operation, maybe a little longer. It just depends how serious it is.

"He's not really had a bad injury before. These unfortunate things happen. To be fair, it was a nasty challenge at the time. His foot was planted and it could have been more serious.

"It's a big blow for us. Chris has been so consistent this season, just what I'm looking for throughout the team. I could not be more happy with the way he's played."

With Smith unavailable, Preece may throw a debut to new-boy Dennis Pearce tonight as City look to claim their first back-to-back league triumphs of the season at Vauxhall Motors (7.45).

Experienced Pearce was signed from rivals Redditch United ahead of City's 2-0 win over Kettering last Saturday and he can provide cover at left-back and in central defence.

George Clegg is suspended following his red card at Stafford, forcing Preece into a midfield shuffle.

City could leap-frog Leigh RMI with victory at Rivacre Road, although Vauxhall Motors are currently enjoying their best form of the season, having won four of their last five league matches.

Preece said: "It would be great if we could get back-to-back wins.

"It's a game we must not lose, first and foremost. If we can win, we can start looking a bit more positively up the league.

"Vauxhall are down there with us, so it's a game we cannot afford to lose. I'm looking at reaching the 23 to 24 point mark as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, City's 16-year-old midfielder Sam Wedgbury is currently on trial at a Football League club, which Preece declined to name.

He added: "Sam has been training with the club and it's an opportunity for him. We will see how it develops."