ACCRINGTON Stanley captain Peter Cavanagh today paid tribute to his "bubbly" brother who died after an unprovoked attack on a night out.

Anthony Cavanagh, 22, a sailor in the Royal Navy, lost his fight for life on Wednesday in a Liverpool hospital. His family had kept a bedside vigil for the past 12 days while he lay in a coma.

Peter, 23, said: "Tony is going to be sorely missed. We are trying not to be upset and instead look back at all of the good times we had with him."

Merseyside Police said Anthony, who lived in the Kirkdale area of Liverpool, was the victim of an attack. He had been on shore leave and enjoying a night out on September 24 when he accidentally bumped into a drinker outside a bar in Liverpool city centre.

He put his hands up to apologise but was felled by a single blow that knocked him unconscious.

Peter, who plays at right-back for Stanley, said: "Tony was a very popular guy. He made an impression on everyone he met, even if you only knew him for a day you were his friend. He was one of those bubbly people.

"It is a sad loss, not only for our family but for everybody who knew him."

Peter has been sidelined with an ankle injury but has been told by team manager John Coleman he can have as much time as he needs before he starts playing again.

He said: "I have spoken to the manager and he told me to take as long as I need. I have had great support from the club and myself and the family are very grateful.

"You find out who your friends are at times like this and the club have been great."

He said he hopes to attend Stanley's home game with Hereford United tonight even though he will not play.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy also paid tribute to Anthony saying he was a "well loved, good-tempered" sailor.

He said: "Anthony Cavanagh had served on HMS Cardiff for almost two years and was a very popular member of the crew who was noted for his kind nature, cheerfulness and disarming sense of humour.

"Although only 22 and in the early stages of his career, he was a hard-working and professional young man who showed a great deal of promise. He could always be relied upon to behave impeccably in any situation and was a credit to his family and the Royal Navy."

No arrangements have yet been made for Anthony's funeral.

l A 21-year-old man from the Wavertree district of Liverpool has been arrested in connection with the incident, said police.