COLIN Cooper has revealed that Steve Howard was “as angry as a bear” after the clash which left him with six stitches beneath his left eye.
The gash, inflicted by the stray arm of Torquay United defender Aaron Downes during the first half of Saturday’s goalless draw, is likely to keep him out of tomorrow’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy visit of Bradford City.
Howard had to be withdrawn during the break at Plainmoor, as Cooper explained: “He was as angry as a bear at half-time and probably wanted some retribution.
“But his eye was starting to close and his vision was a bit blurred so it was best to bring him off.
“Stevie came off an angry person because he thought Downs had got away with murder.
“He might struggle for Tuesday now if his eye closes up any more.”
And Cooper was left frustrated with referee Oliver Langford after he failed to punish either Downes or centre-back partner Krystian Pearce, who was guilty of a thigh-high lunge on Matty Dolan.
“Steve can dish it out and has done over the years,” the Pools boss went on.
“But in modern day football you can’t come out of a challenge with a two-inch gash and six stitches needed and the referee not see anything,
“The referee didn’t even speak to him about it.
“One centre-back got away with giving my centre-forward six stitches in his cheek and the other got away with persistent fouling all afternoon.
“Matty got caught above the knee with another one in the first half.
“I don’t think my players got any protection but hey, it’s a tough world.
“That’s life sometimes and football is a man’s game.”