MARK Cooper has revealed that Alex Pritchard was close to tears as he apologised to his Swindon Town teammates after being sent off in the weekend derby against Bristol City.

Pritchard was dismissed by referee Trevor Kettle in the 55th minute of the clash at Ashton Gate after lashing out at Wade Elliott.

In his absence, Town battled to a point from a goalless draw and at the end of the game Cooper said Pritchard waited to speak to each of the Robins players individually. And, according to the Swindon boss, who is set to fine the Spurs loanee for his actions, he had a tear in his eye.

“It’s not the time for me to castigate Alex in front of the players but he waited by the changing room door and apologised to every player, apologised and shook their hands and was nearly in tears,” Cooper told the Advertiser.

“He knows what he’s done and hopefully he’ll learn from it.

“He took two really heavy tackles – one in the first half and one for the incident – but you can’t react like that. He’s such a good player that people target him and he can’t react like that.

“He’s very contrite and I’m sure he’ll learn from it.”

The incident which led to Pritchard’s sending-off was almost identical to a flashpoint in Town’s 4-1 home defeat to Wolves on Tuesday night, when Bakary Sako pushed Raphael Rossi Branco to the floor, only to be issued with a yellow card.

Though Cooper had no complaints that Pritchard was given his marching orders, he spoke of his frustration at the inconsistency of the two decisions.

“That is the thing that absolutely drives you potty as a manager – you see exactly the same when Sako pushes Branco over and spits in his face and he stays on the pitch,” he said.

“Alex has got frustrated with a nasty tackle and pushes the lad in the chest and he gets a red card. It’s disappointing.”