ANDY Monkhouse could be facing up to three weeks on the sidelines.
The 33-year-old winger was forced off in only the 15th minute of Pools’ comprehensive 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers at Victoria Park.
Monkhouse went down clutching his left-hamstring and was clearly in pain, with Jack Compton coming off the bench to play the remainder of the match.
The pacy 25-year-old did well when he came on, getting into several dangerous positions and linking up well with full-back Darren Holden.
He also played in Marlon Harewood, who was fouled for the second-half penalty.
Cooper admitted the injury to Monkhouse was a blow and said the experienced winger had put a “real shift” in this season.
But he added it is now up to Compton to seize his opportunity, with the winger set for an extended run in the side.
“Andy felt his hamstring go,” said Cooper.
“We will have a look at him but Andy, at 33, knows his own body.
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“If it is a genuine hamstring it will be nothing less than three weeks.
“But that is part of football and, touch wood, we have been very lucky with our injury record over the season.
“You get into this period of time and need as many people available as you can, but where has Jack Compton been for the past few months?
“There is an opportunity now for Jack to impose himself, to give himself a chance to play in the remaining games and have an impact on the final throes of the season.”
Monkhouse was making his 39th appearance of the campaign on Saturday and with six goals to his name and three assists he has been an important player.
His hamstring woes followed the blow on Friday that Neil Austin, suffering from a troublesome toe injury, needed surgery and is out for the rest of the campaign.
The injury to Austin and Michael Duckworth, who is back training after soft tissue damage, has at least provided an opportunity for both Darren Holden and Jordan Richards to impress in the full-back berths.
Cooper added: “Neil’s injury has provided opportunities for Darren and Jordan, both of whom are young boys.
“As a young player if you can build a bit of momentum at this stage of the season and feel good and have self-belief and confidence in yourself then that will take you on for the rest of your career.
“As much as we are disappointed to lose players – opportunities are open to other players and it is up to them.
“This is their time, what do they want from their time in the team?
“There are 27 points to play for and they have to be asking themselves what can we get?”
Meanwhile, Cooper is still not yet in a position to appoint a new number two after Craig Hignett resigned from his post as assistant manager to join Championship side Middlesbrough.
Today marks two weeks since Hignett left and it is understood the situation around compensation is still ongoing between Boro and Pools.
In terms of a replacement, Cooper said he had “planted a couple of seeds” and was waiting for those to germinate.