Cobblers boss Keith Curle has outlined the reasons for the club not appealing the dismissal dished out to midfielder Sam Foley in Saturday’s Sky Bet league Two win over Oldham Athletic.
Referee Charles Breakspear stunned virtually every person inside the PTS Academy Stadium when he brandished the red card for Foley’s mistimed tackle on the Latics’ Christopher Missilou just before the end of the first half.
The match official deemed the trackle reckless and sent Foley from the field of play, and although Curle disagreed with the decision at the time, and still feels it was the wrong call, he admits the video evidence of the incident makes it look ‘a lot worse’ than it was.
That being the case, and while happy to defend Foley, he felt it would be pointless to officially appeal the decision, as the likelihood of it being turned over would be minimal.
“I think if you take the view of the tackle on video, it looks a lot worse than it actually was,” said Curle.
“If you see it in real time, in the flow of the game, and have an understanding of the player and his mentality and intentions, then it is not a malicious, dangerous tackle that is going to endanger an opponent.
It is one of those, where if I thought it was totally unjustified then I would have asked the club to appeal it, but looking at it, you would say there are grounds for misunderstandingCobblers boss Keith Curle
“You see it in isolation on video, and you could argue the case that his trailing leg was higher than what it potentially could have been.
“But I don’t think I would have played many games back in the day (with decisions like that).”
The red card was the ninth handed out by Breakspear in just 17 games this season.
He has also dished out six in his past four visits to Sixfields - sending off five Cobblers players - and Curle added: “I had read of some the match reports on the referee’s performance, so you always have a bad feeling when push comes to shove that he is going to dish out a card.
“It is one of those, where if I thought it was totally unjustified then I would have asked the club to appeal it, but looking at it, you would say there are grounds for misunderstanding.”
Curle will now be without Foley for four matches, as EFL rules also state the former Port Vale man can’t play in next Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Fulham Under-21s either.
Bizarrely, when it comes to suspensions, the Checkatrade Trophy is not deemed to be a first team fixture, and Foley is now banned from all football ‘until three first team fixtures have been played’.
That means he misses Saturday’s home date with Crewe Alexandra, the FA Cup trip to Lincoln City and the trip to Exeter City on November 17, as well as the Checkatrade date with the Cottagers.
The earliest Foley will be back in action would be for any FA Cup replay on November 20, or the PTS Academy date with Grimsby Town on November 24.
If it was the latter, it means Foley will be out of action for a full month.
It is a blow for the player and the manager, but Curle is confident another member of the squad will step up and make the central midfield slot their own.
“It is four games now (without Foley), because he can’t play in the Checkatrade Trophy game either,” said the Cobblers boss.
“But where one door closes, another one opens, which I think has been proven already with some of the injuries and suspensions we have had.
“Other people have been waiting patiently and have taken their opportunities, and Sam’s inability to be able to perform will give a chance to somebody else.”
Curle was staying tight-lipped on whether or not any of the injured Cobblers players will be available for Saturday’s clash with Crewe.
The players were in on Monday but then given Tuesday and Wednesday off, before returning to training on Thursday morning.