Aidy Boothroyd said Chris Hackett was ‘very naïve’ to be sent off at Southend United in the Cobblers 2-0 defeat on Saturday.
Hackett, playing his first game after coming back from a torn Achilles tendon, lasted just 22 minutes before being dismissed for picking up two yellow cards for reckless challenges.
Boothroyd was deeply unhappy about the loss and that discontent extended to Hackett, who he felt should have known better than to make such tackles.
“It’s a very poor result and I thought we’d come and get something here with the players we’ve got coming back,” said Boothroyd, after a game in which Roy O’Donovan also missed a penalty after only eight minutes.
“Key events change games. Roy O’Donovan will score plenty of goals for us this season and I’m not going to point any fingers at anyone for missing penalties.
“If that goes in we’re 1-0 up away from home and we can manage the game from there.
“Chris Hackett is a terrific player for us, he’s one of our key players but he was very naïve for us today.
“We know the referee is in his second year, we had him last year and we know he’s quick with the cards. We know that and we work on it.
“When we made those challenges the Southend players surrounded the referee – and I’m not having a go at them for doing that – and my players are standing around picking their noses.
“Because of that, the referee’s influenced and bookings are given out. You don’t go off your feet when you know the referee is keen on producing cards.”