A MAN who was attacked after town centre night out could be left without feeling on one side of his face.

Gareth Higham was walking down Bradshawgate on his way home from Nelson Square at around 6am on Saturday when he was knocked down by a punch from behind by an unknown assailant.

The 28-year-old was knocked unconscious and hit his head on the ground. He was later rushed to hospital where surgeons had to put two metal plates in his jaw.

He was left with short term memory loss and no feeling in one side of his face, which doctors fear could be a permanent problem.

Mr Higham, a builder from Breightmet, has appealed to anyone with information about what happened to him to come forward in an effort to catch the attacker.

"There's no reason for it to have happened, I was just on the way home on my own," he said.

"It's changed my life, I've got a scar on my face and I might never get feeling back on one side.

"Plus my job has me travelling a lot so I feel like I'm letting my employer down because I can't work at the moment."

Mr Higham says there was "no warning" before the attack and that he can think of no reason for it to have happened.

He had been with his friends earlier in the night but begun his journey home by himself.

He recalls a woman trying to help him sit up not long after the incident who seemed to be speaking to the person who threw the punch, although he cannot recall what either person looked like.

Following the attack Mr Higham was sent for scans as doctors feared he could have brain damage but the damage to his head seems to have been limited to short-term memory loss.

Police have opened an investigation into the incident.