Town boss Mark Cooper revealed just how big a loss Nathan Thompson would be today against Coventry when he compared his captain to two greats of defending, Alan Hansen and Franco Baresi.

Thompson saw red in the last action of last Tuesday’s League Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, bringing down Jake Forster-Caskey trying to atone for the slip that let the England under 21 international in on goal.

In the course of the season it will be looked back upon as an avoidable suspension. With the game effectively over and with only one outcome for Thompson once he had committed the foul, he should have let the Forster-Caskey get a shot off and thus remained available for today’s fixture.

His manager agreed and admitted he was shouting at Thompson to let him score. However he was not overly critical of his skipper on Tuesday night and in his pre-match press conference heaped praise on Thompson.

“He’ll be a big loss for us because he’s been outstanding this season in a position he’s never really played before,” said Cooper.

“He’s taken to it like a duck to water, he’s looked like he’s played there for 10 years. He’s like an Alan Hansen – like a mixture of Alan Hansen and Franco Baresi – very comfortable on the ball, and a good defender.

“It was just a shame the other night that his one mistake led to giving them a penalty.”

Thompson will return from his ban for the trip to Bradford on Saturday, September 13.