STRIKER Andrew Nelson faces a race to be fit for what could be his final Darlington game on Saturday.

On loan from Sunderland, the 21-year-old played only the first 45 minutes of the New Year’s Day game at York City having suffered a knee injury late in the first half.

He left the pitch clearly in discomfort as he headed for the changing room, and has since had treatment at Sunderland.

Quakers play against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday at Blackwell Meadows and, having scored six of the team’s last 12 goals, being without Nelson would be a blow to Darlington manager Tommy Wright.

Speaking on Thursday, the manager said: “He went into Sunderland on Wednesday and today for treatment. I don’t think it’s serious but it needs to settle down if he has any chance of playing on Saturday.”

Nelson’s one-month loan expires after the match, and while Wright has told Sunderland he wants the player to stay, as do Quakers’ supporters, he is unable to offer any assurances.

“We will do well to keep him, just as we did well to get him in the first place,” added Wright.

“We’ve spoken to Sunderland expressed our desire to keep him, so it’s wait and see time.

“My priority right now is trying to get him fit for Saturday. Whatever happens beyond that is out of my control.”

Meanwhile, Wright says he has received an apology from the referee who did not apply the laws of the game by failing to send off a York player during Tuesday’s 4-0 drubbing.

It was 2-0 at the time when Joe Davis denied a goalscoring opportunity by hauling down Tom Elliott without making an attempt to win the ball, yet referee Nathanael Cox only cautioned the York defender.

It was a bewildering decision, one that led to protests from Darlington players, who perhaps allowed the moment to affect their focus as within seconds York attacked and made it 3-0.

Wright said: “I went in to see the referee after the game. I told him that I’m not one to hammer referees, but 100 per cent he got that one wrong. He gave me his version, which was that he didn’t feel Tom had the ball under control and that it wasn’t denying a goalscoring opportunity

“He said he would apologise if he was wrong, but in five years of management I’ve never had an apology. Then he emailed the club on Wednesday to pass on a message to me to apologise, saying it was a red card.

“It doesn’t change anything and from the free-kick we hit the wall anyway, although looking at it again it looks like a handball there.

“It may have changed the outcome, but there’s no guarantee it would’ve changed the game, there’s no guarantee we would’ve scored one let alone two.

“We all make mistakes. I make mistakes, the players made mistakes because they conceded four goals, and he made one.

“It was a ridiculous decision, but he missed it and he’s held his hands up.”