HARTLEPOOL United were today keeping their fingers crossed Antony Sweeney will not face a long spell on the sidelines after suffering a horror tackle at Carlisle.
Thankfully, Sweeney escaped serious injury after the challenge which saw Carlisle United reduced to 10-men during last night’s 1-0 defeat at Brunton Park.
The 12-goal top scorer felt the full force of Liam Noble’s reckless lunge on his right ankle on the stroke of half-time.
There were initial fears that Sweeney, who lay stricken on the turf, could have suffered a broken bone given the ferocity of the challenge.
But Pools are hopeful that, when the heavy swelling eventually does settle, tests will reveal the master marksman has avoided a season-ending injury.
“He’s got a nasty injury on his shin and just above his ankle and there’s quite a bit of swelling,” said Wadsworth.
“We’ll have to see how it settles down but he didn’t move from the couch after half-time and had an ice pack on.
“He’s almost certainly out of Saturday’s game against Plymouth.”
And club captain Ritchie Humphreys added: “He seems okay.
“Thankfully it’s one of those which is a whack rather than a twist.
“It’ll be painful no doubt for a few days but hopefully that will die down with time.”
On-loan Sunderland teenager Noble was given a straight red card for the offence, but an insipid Pools were unable to make their numerical advantage pay after half-time.
And it was the hosts who nicked the only goal, Francois Zoko smashing home an acrobatic scissor-kick in the 67th-minute.
“We’ve let ourselves down – there’s no doubt about that,” reflected Wadsworth.
“We did the hard work in the first half and defended very well against a strong wind.
“We set ourselves up to be in a good position and them going down to 10-men should have been a huge plus for us.
“But we’ve been very, very poor and didn’t take advantage of it.”
He added: “The conditions were very difficult to deal with and sometimes it suits you better shooting into the wind.
“But we didn’t deal with it after half-time because when you like to play football sometimes that’s difficult with a strong wind.
“But the lads know, by our standards, we weren’t at our best by a long, long way – there are no excuses.
“We didn’t pass it well, cross it well, our set-plays were poor and we didn’t open them up.
“I think we took a bit of a comfort break after half-time with the extra man and paid the price.
“It was a disappointing night but you can’t play well every game and we’ve done well enough in recent weeks not to get too down about this one.”
Meanwhile, Pools’ reserves are in action this afternoon when they travel to Grimsby Town (kick off 2pm).
Adam Boyd and Armann Bjornsson, unused subs at Brunton Park, are expected to feature, as will trialist Jonny Birbeck.