City are urgently seeking a solution to James Hanson’s back problem to get him leading their fight to stay up.
With Phil Parkinson insisting that his side are in the survival shake-up now, they need Hanson to be fully fit and firing.
The targetman has been hampered by trouble with his back in recent weeks – and Parkinson feels it is vital they discover the cause.
Hanson was limited to a bench role in Tuesday’s dismal defeat to Walsall and was only involved at all because Oliver McBurnie was sick.
He is not certain of being right for the weekend’s trip to third-placed Leyton Orient either and Parkinson said: “We’ve got to get to the bottom of his back problem, it’s as simple as that.
“We’ve sent him to a chiropractor four times. Our physio has looked at him – we’ve done everything we can.
“It keeps tightening up and we need to find out why. We need him to be back to playing at his best.
“He had trouble before the Colchester game but we took him down, he had a fitness test and played. But then he couldn’t train.
“We went to Shrewsbury on Saturday and that morning he said he was 75 per cent right, so he couldn’t go above three-quarter pace.
“Then he played again Tuesday when he felt he was only 60-65 per cent. Now he’s possibly doubtful for this weekend.”
Parkinson has a big job on his hands to lift morale before the trip to east London. Confidence has suddenly deserted his team following two poor performances.
The City boss and assistant Steve Parkin were up until the early hours after Walsall, discussing the best way forward.
Parkinson said: “We had a last-minute defeat at Shrewsbury and that can have a damaging effect. It did knock the stuffing out of us – but we’ve had setbacks before.
“My first year here when we were struggling, we played Southend at home on Good Friday. We had a really weak team – and they put in an incredible fighting, spirited performance to get the result.
“That’s what we need from this group of players now. This game can quickly change.
“When we won at Colchester, you could visibly see the confidence in the way we played against Gillingham, even though we didn’t get the three points. But just as quickly, confidence can go out of a team.
“We’ve got to get that back but there isn’t a magic wand. It comes back with hard work and effort, drive and commitment all over the pitch.
“We won’t win on Saturday if we play like we did the other night. We won’t win if we don’t find some energy and some drive.
“We’ve got to find the answers and get back to how we were playing a few weeks ago.”