It’s a devastating blow for the Rocks as Smith, recruited from Dulwich Hamlet in the summer, has just returned from having an operation on his foot. This is a completely different problem though, with the goal-getter fracturing a metatarsal in the Isthmian premier division stalemate.

Smith has worked tirelessly to get fit after his operation and played 45 minutes at Chatham Town, a full game against Carshalton Athletic and an hour on Saturday against the Tags.

Now he faces a new recovery period. Boss Robbie Blake says the loss of Smith is a big setback. He added: “We can’t catch a break, can we? Dan had his foot stepped on and said it didn’t feel right and he’s had an x-ray and it’s a broken metatarsal and that means six to eight weeks out. He says it doesn’t feel too bad but the fact is it is broken and needs to heal. He was just getting his energy and fitness right after his time out so I feel for him, I really do.

“But we have to get on with it and Jasper Mather now has the chance to come in and play in that role. He did ever so well in pre-season when we got some decent results and I have every confidence in Jasper and I’m asking him to seize this opportunity, starting at Canvey Island on Saturday and then we have the Sussex derby at home to Lewes on Bank Holiday Monday.”