City will not fast-track midfield general Gary Jones back into the fray before he is ready.

Jones lost his ever-present tag on Tuesday when a sore back forced him out of the goalless draw at Rochdale. It prevented him going back to the club where he made a record 533 appearances.

Incredibly, it was just the second league game Jones has missed since February 2010 – and first because of injury. The only other time he did not feature in that 119-match streak was in April when John Coleman dropped him for Rochdale’s home win over Exeter.

Jones was gutted not to face the club where he has spent the bulk of his career but he was not fit enough to take a chance – and City will not take a risk at Dagenham if they feel he needs more time.

Assistant boss Steve Parkin said: “If there’s one player who wanted to be out there at Rochdale, it was Gary.

“But he’s 35 and played 120 minutes in the last week (against Burton). He absolutely ran his socks off at the weekend as well and we’ve just got to be careful. He’s had a bit of a back injury and he got a couple of knocks on top of that. Gary would love to have played but he simply felt too sore on Monday.

“We couldn’t afford to get wrapped up in the emotions of him playing one game instead of playing all season.

“Hopefully it will settle down by the weekend but we’ve got a lot of games coming up over the next couple of weeks. So we’ve got to play it right.”

Ricky Ravenhill took his place at Spotland and nearly scored a second-half winner. It was only his second outing since recovering from a pre-season knee injury.

Parkin added: “I thought Ricky slotted in there superbly. I just wish he could have got that goal when he hit it straight at the keeper.

“He’s a great lad and hasn’t moaned and groaned about being out of the team. He’s just got on with his business and kept himself fit.

“He’s a terrific captain and a good servant for the club. We need that pressure on places to make the ones who’ve got the shirts keep performing.”

Kyel Reid, meanwhile, had a scan on his injured groin yesterday afternoon and the club hope to know the results later today.