Austin bemused and frustrated by Taylor ban but O’Toole return is a boost

OFF: Ash Taylor leaves the pitch after being sent off against Peterborough on Easter Monday. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds
OFF: Ash Taylor leaves the pitch after being sent off against Peterborough on Easter Monday. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds

The decision not to overturn Ash Taylor’s one-match suspension following his red against against Peterborough United has left Cobblers caretaker boss Dean Austin both frustrated and puzzled, with the defender ‘absolutely devastated’ to be ruled out of Tuesday’s trip to Blackpool.

Taylor was given his marching orders by referee Michael Salisbury in the closing stages of Easter Monday’s derby at the ABAX Stadium when he was deemed to be last man in supposedly tripping Posh striker Jack Marriott.

Despite Peterborough manager Steve Evans describing the decision as ‘harsh’, with Marriott himself even conceding that he stumbled over the ball, not to mention the fact that Taylor’s centre-back partner Leon Barnett was covering, the FA opted not to overturn Taylor’s ban after Northampton had appealed.

The club have written to the FA for an ask for an explanation but they look certain to be without one of their leading lights this season for Tuesday’s crunch game at Bloomfield Road.

“I don’t want the first thing I do as a manager to get a fine from the FA through making the wrong comment, but everyone has seen it and I was in line with it,” said Austin on the absence of Taylor, who is set to miss his first game of the entire campaign.

“Jack Marriott fell over the ball, their bench and the lad himself have said that he tripped over the ball, plus Leon Barnett is in a recovery position, so I don’t think we can say anymore, can we?

“Ash has been brilliant and first-class. He’s the captain of the team now and he is a leader. We’ve spoken in the last few days and he’s absolutely devastated that he can’t play on Tuesday, as would I be.

“The Gods aren’t making it easy for me at the moment but you’ve got to play with the cards you’ve been dealt and you’ve got to get on with it.

“I’ve got to forget about it because I can’t influence it, and the way I see it, one person’s misfortune creates an opportunity for another player so there’s an opportunity for someone else.

“And the way that I work is that if you take that opportunity, you may well keep that shirt.”

JJ is a bit of a lunatic at times and he loses his head and that might be why the supporters love him so much, but he’s one of those players who’s a warrior and has a knack of scoring goals. He’ll have a vital part to play in these next five games.

But though Austin is hampered by the loss of Taylor, he will be delighted to have the option of selecting instrumental midfielder John-Joe O’Toole, who returns from a three-match suspension.

“I’ve known John-Joe for a long, long time,” added Austin. “I coached him when he was a 13-year-old at Watford in my first coaching role after I finished playing and then I had him again when I worked with Brendan (Rodgers) when we went back to Watford in 2008.

“JJ is a great guy and a great character. He’s a bit of a lunatic at times and he loses his head and that might be why the supporters love him so much, but he’s one of those players who’s a warrior and has a knack of scoring goals.

“He’ll have a vital part to play in these next five games.”