Cobblers boss Keith Curle has labelled Junior Morias’s sending-off in Saturday’s FA Cup first round defeat to Lincoln City as a moment of ‘stupidity’.
The Town striker was dismissed deep into stoppage time for barging into Lincoln’s Tom Pett after he had fouled Kevin van Veen, and Curle was not impressed at his player’s ill discipline.
Morias was making his comeback at Sincil Bank after two months out with a hamstring strain, and he now faces what is likely to be another month on the sidelines thanks to a three-match suspension.
The former Peterborough United man will have to sit out this Saturday’s trip to Exeter City, the home date with Grimsby Town a week later and - unless there is a match rearranged for the free FA Cup second round date on December 1 - the December 8 trip to Crawley Town.
It means Morias is not set to be available to play again until the PTS Academy Stadium clash with Stevenage on December 15, and that will be a huge source of frustration for the player, as it is for Curle.
“It was stupidity,” said Curle. “I can take a player being sent off for a tackle, for mistiming a tackle, as you can fully understand it and can appreciate that.
Junior has trained like a demon to get himself back on the pitch, but then that red mist comes down and players do stupid thingsCobblers boss Keith Curle
“With the character we have in the changing room, they are very honest individuals, and you have to say the emotion of being on the pitch has led to stupidity.
“He has got himself sent off like that, and I can’t condone it, can’t defend it, as it was utter stupidity.”
Although critical of the moment of madness, Curle has backed Morias to learn from his mistake, just as the Town boss had to in his days as a player.
“Junior will learn from it,” said Curle. “He has been desperate to get back out on the pitch, his attitude around the place has been absolutely phenomenal.
“He has trained like a demon to get himself back on the pitch, but then that red mist comes down and players do stupid things.
“I must admit, back in my time I did some stupid things as well so it is a player who has made a mistake.
“If there is a cure for a player to ensure they never make a mistake then I would like to find it.”
Morias was clearly aggrieved at what he saw was a nasty tackle on his strike partner, but Curle says Imps player Pett was just doing what was best for his team, and that van Veen can take care of his own battles.
“Kevin is a big lad and can protect himself,” said the Cobblers boss.
“With a couple of minutes to go, would you call it a high tackle that has endangered him? Or would you say it was a tactical foul?
“You could arguably say it was a tactical foul from them that the lad takes a booking for, and what we don’t need them is one of our players getting sent off trying to protect Kevin. He can look after himself.”
Curle was speaking ahead of training on Tuesday afternoon, but as is usually the case now he was staying tight-lipped as to whether any of the club’s walking wounded will have a chance of being fit for the weekend trip to Devon.
Matt Crooks, Ash Taylor, Shay Facey, Leon Barnett and Dean Bowditch are all nursing knocks, although Curle did hint one or two could be in contention.
Town will definitely be without Morias as well as midfielder Sam Foley, who is serving the final match of his own three-match ban.