Billy Bodin is likely to miss Torquay United’s game away to League Two leaders Chesterfield on Saturday, after picking up an injury which sparked controversy in Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat to relegation rivals Northampton Town.
“Billy is still sore, and he may not make it for Saturday,” manager Chris Hargreaves said.
“It’s a pity, because Billy has done well for us recently, and his mentality has changed dramatically over the last three weeks to a month.”
Bodin was injured in a tackle on the edge of Northampton’s penalty area in the tenth minute, and he immediately indicated that he was in trouble.
“Ninety per cent of the time, you’d hear the whistle and play is stopped in that situation,” said Hargreaves.
“If that was in the Premier League, on Match Of The Day, that tackle is a foul. Whether the [Northampton] player has won the ball or not, he’s come across Billy to get it and caught him.
“On Tuesday the referee played on, but I think quite a few people thought he was going to blow.
“That’s all the difference it takes, maybe one or two yards between being on the cover and not, and that enabled them to get in and score.
“We may also have made a wrong decision, and all in all there are lessons to be learned.”
Northampton striker Emile Sinclair pounced again from a similar counter-attack situation to make it 2-0 six minutes later and United, despite Krystian Pearce pulling a goal back just before half-time, the Gulls could not wipe out the deficit in the second half.
Bodin and Shaun Cooper (ankle) are United’s only casualties ahead of the Chesterfield trip. But Hargreaves is unlikely to throw Manchester United teenager Jack Rudge into the fray, although he may make the bench.
The 19-year-old midfielder is on loan at Plainmoor, and Hargreaves said: “His loan is not about him saving us from relegation – it’s for him to develop, see what life at this level is all about and what this club is like.
“It’s also for us to get a good link going with his club, which we hope will lead on to other things.
“He’s a talented player and he’s been brilliant in training on the Astroturf, but our other midfielders are stronger than Jack, especially on the pitches we’re playing on at the moment.”