Tranmere have been dealt a setback in their push for promotion after it was revealed that talismanic striker James Vaughan requires knee surgery.

The former Everton forward has been in superb form this season, hitting 18 league goals from 26 matches.

But following Rovers' disappointing home defeat to Crawley on Saturday afternoon, manager Keith Hill confirmed the worst about his key provider of goals.

He said: "James Vaughan, I now know needs surgery. We don't know how long he will be out until after the surgery.

"But he'll be having surgery on Tuesday afternoon. We'll know more probably Wednesday or Thursday once the surgeon gives us the information that we need."

Vaughan sustained his knee injury last weekend in the 83rd minute of Rovers' 3-1 away win at Leyton Orient.

Hill also gave updates on a couple of other absent players.

Kieron Morris was ruled out of today's match due to an impact injury sustained following a blocked shot against Newport County on Tuesday night.

But the Rovers manager said that the knock is only minor and hopes to have the left-footed midfielder available for the trip to Southend United on Tuesday evening.

Although reluctant to put timescale on his return, Otis Khan could be back in training by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, Hill confirmed that George Ray came off during the match against Crawley with a hip injury.

Speaking more broadly about the defeat, Hill accepted that Rovers had been second best.

He said: "We got beat. They'll be a knee-jerk reaction for the next 24 hours. We're all very good at that. But sometimes you can say the wrong things.

"I think the opposition today deserved their victory. We weren't at our best, in and out of possession or energy-wise.

"That's my understanding - from an emotional point of view - why we got beat.

"We'll treat the game in isolation and like I've previously said on many occasions, what you achieve is not decided by individual results. It's what you do to respond, rebound and be positive about. There's a lot of things to be positive about."

Defeat sees Rovers drop to one place to fifth in League Two - leapfrogged by Morecambe. 

The Whites are two points outside the automatic promotion places and five adrift of current pace-setters Cheltenham Town.