Published: 00:00, 03 May 2004
| Updated: 12:42, 04 May 2004
GILLINGHAM skipper Paul Smith has said time is against him in his race to be fit for Sunday's make or break relegation game away at Stoke City, although he remains "optimistic".
The 32-year-old midfielder is struggling with a medial ligament tear in his knee, sustained in the match against Ipswich. It is the same injury that required surgery over the summer and Smith admits he returned too early.
He said: "It’s been on-going all season and to cut a long story short I came back too soon. My knee was not strong enough and all season I have felt it."
Talking about being fit for Sunday, he said: "I never say never, although the physio is not at all optimistic because it’s still quite sore.
“But I have done a lot of work in training today turning and twisting, which I couldn’t do last week so it is getting better.
“It’s a race against time, but I’m optimistic. I always am. If there’s a chance I’ll definitely go for it. But it's not the sort of injury you can patch up and play on with."