Graham Alexander has spoken of Fleetwood Town’s disappointment following confirmation that Jeff Hughes broke a leg against Hartlepool.
The midfielder faces months on the sidelines following a thunderous challenge which saw Jordan Richards dismissed in the opening moments of Town’s 2-0 Highbury win last Saturday.
However, Alexander believes there was no malice in Richards’ tackle and he praised the Pools defender for swiftly apologising to Hughes.
The Town boss said: “Jeff will be out for quite a while now with a broken bone in his leg, so that tells you how severe the tackle was. The lads are gutted for him.
“But fair play to the lad who do it, I don’t think there was any malice. He just wanted a good, hard challenge but he’s caught Jeff late.
“He went to see him in the changing rooms and apologised, which was good of him and was appreciated by everyone at the club, including Jeff himself.
“We know these things are part of football – it’s a contact sport. But it’s disappointing because Jeff’s had a fantastic season so far.”
The Cod Army boss did emphasise that Hughes’ injury was an opportunity for somebody else to stake a claim for a first-team place.
“It opens up the door for somebody to make their mark in the team and we’ve got enough midfield players to take up that challenge.”
Their first opportunity to do so will come against Burton Albion tomorrow as Fleetwood travel to the Pirelli Stadium, and although Alexander recognises that it will be a tough game he’s confident his side are capable of beating any team in the division.
“It’s a tough game for both teams but we’re obviously looking to continue our recent run of form (Town have won all three games in 2014).”
“We’ve already played them three times this season, so they know us and we know them, but we’ll just concentrate on our own performance and if we get that right I think we’re more than a match for anyone.
“When we’ve performed well this season we’ve usually got results, so that’s what we’re looking to do on Saturday.”
One performance Alexander was not pleased with was last month’s 1-0 FA Cup replay defeat at Burton and he has demanded an improved display tomorrow.
“It’s an understatement to say I was unhappy with the cup loss,” he added.
“It really disappointed me that we didn’t attack in the right way and I certainly don’t think we’ll see a repeat this time around.”
Alexander is hoping to welcome back midfielder Antoni Sarcevic, who missed the Hartlepool game with an ankle injury.
“That game just came too soon for him, so we’re going to see how he is towards the end of the week, but hopefully we’ll have him back, which will strengthen the squad.”