MANAGER Danny Searle admits Braintree Town will have to play a waiting game this week to see if defender Rob Atkinson will be fit to join them for a crunch Vanarama National League trip to Dover Athletic on Saturday.

The centre-half, who is on loan with the Iron from Premier League side Fulham, missed the 1-0 defeat by Aldershot Town last weekend after suffering concussion in their previous game at Eastleigh.

He has become an influential member of Braintree's defensive unit since joining on loan from Fulham, but Searle said a head injury and concussion was not something where a player's fitness could be risked.

While Atkinson is hopeful of making a return on Saturday and the game against Dover is another vital one in the Iron's battle for National League survival, Searle admitted that they were making plans for the game to cover all eventualities.

He said: "Rob picked up a knock in the Eastleigh game when there was a challenge down by the dug-out.

“He got assessed by Fulham on the Monday and unfortunately for him, he was diagnosed with concussion.

“That means he was under a return to play regime.

“We’re hoping he’ll be back in time for Dover, but if he’s not, then we’ll have to respect that.

“It’s a mandatory thing where a player is diagnosed with concussion.

“They have to do a return to play, which is a sequence of tests every day and they have to pass those to move on to the next stage so the medical team can pass them fit.

“He’s confident he’ll be OK (for Dover) but the bottom line is that they have to make sure he’s right.

“There is no way anyone will take any risks.

“It’s just a waiting game for us and we’ll plan with him and without him."