COLIN Cooper admits Hartlepool United will miss the “impact and influence” of Charlie Wyke and he has called on others to step up the mark.
The on-loan Middlesbrough striker has returned to his parent club to be assessed after being stretchered off with concussion just 28 minutes into the Tuesday night defeat at Northampton Town.
Since returning for a second spell on loan at Pools, Wyke has netted three goals in five appearances and his enforced absence is a huge loss to Cooper.
Unless further loan reinforcements are brought in before the squad head south at lunchtime today then Pools are set to line-up with Marlon Harewood and Jonathan Franks up front.
Cooper said: “There is no doubt someone who scores three goals and has the influence and impact that he has had will be a big miss.
“Charlie is back at Middlesbrough getting assessed because we are convinced he was completely out the other night and there is a procedure we now have to follow.
“In football terms, that is the right procedure and the days of players getting up groggy and playing on aren’t allowed to happen anymore. Rightly so.
“Charlie has been great but he can’t play so who wants to be the hero.
“Over the next two days someone may jump out and be that person - Marlon, Franksy, anyone.
“I want players who want to play and give everything they possibly can and for someone to want to be a hero and send our fans home happy on that long journey home.”
Cooper was heavily criticised on Tuesday night after deciding to change his defence, which had recorded back-to-back clean sheets against Shrewsbury and Tranmere Rovers before the trip to Northampton.
Jordan Richards was replaced at right-back by Stuart Parnaby, who endured a torrid evening conceding a penalty while also being at fault for two other goals. After the fifth went in he was replaced by Richards.
Cooper said: “I have to make decisions and felt I had made the right one. Stuart, who was ready to play, is a good footballer who had a bad night.
“He is honest and open enough to admit that.
“Jordan is a great kid who will work hard and I had a chat with him. As a young player all you do is get your head down and graft and when your opportunity comes along you take it.
“He was obviously disappointed not to start but that is football.
“I have to make decisions.”