CHARLIE Wyke’s absence from the weekend trip to Plymouth Argyle is a chance for somebody to make themselves a “hero”.
That is the view of Hartlepool United manager Colin Cooper who will be without his three-goal top scorer after he went off with concussion in the damning defeat at Northampton Town.
The on-loan Middlesbrough forward scored after just 46 seconds to give Pools the lead but then it all went horribly wrong.
Goals from Marc Richards and a brace from Kaid Mohamed gave Chris Wilder’s side a 3-1 lead at the interval before Lawson D’Ath scored a fourth and Richards got his second and his side’s fifth.
It was a thoroughly miserable and forgettable night for all concerned - capped off with Wyke’s early departure after 28 minutes.
After a lengthy stoppage, the striker was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital as a precaution but did make the team bus home.
Rules state he cannot play for a week as a result of the concussion, a huge blow to goal-shy Pools ahead of another long trip south.
Unless further loan reinforcements are brought in - and Cooper told SportMail he is continuing to search for new strikers - then Marlon Harewood is likely to come in to partner Jonathan Franks.
Cooper said: “Charlie will be missing for seven days and we can’t do anything about that.
“The opportunity is there for somebody to be a man on Saturday [against Plymouth] and to try and be a hero for the club and the fans - who will hopefully come down and support us at Plymouth.
“They deserve something.
“Charlie took his goal well and I have no doubt he will go on and have a smashing career in football.
“For a young boy, he probably won’t have had that happen so far in his fledgling career.
“He was probably feeling okay about himself, he’d had a couple of chances and then scored one but ends up in hospital.
“That is a tough night for him.”
Pools had gone into the game on the back of two clean sheets - against Shrewsbury and Tranmere.
But the defender’s looked like they had never met each before the Northampton match.
Stuart Parnaby, who returned to the side at right-back in place of Jordan Richards, had a particularly torrid time.
He gave away the penalty for the equalising goal and then was at fault for at least two of the other goals before being taken off - for Richards - after the fifth had gone in.
Asked why Parnaby had been taken off, all Cooper would say was “I’ll keep that to myself.”
It would be no surprise at all if Richards is back in the starting line-up at the weekend.
Speaking more generally about the defensive display, a clearly fuming Cooper added: “Clean sheets do not come just by thinking you can turn up on the pitch.
“They come from hard work.
“It has not happened.
“Afterwards I asked the questions and we have spoken about things and if you want to throw all the clichés at it you can but the quicker Saturday comes the better for me and for the players.
“It takes a brave man to step across the white line after a defeat like that and I need some brave men on Saturday.”