NICKY Featherstone is a doubt for Hartlepool United’s vital League Two trip to Bury on Saturday after being sent off in the club’s 3-1 reserve-team defeat at Hull City.
Featherstone had just scored a goal, something of a collector’s item for the midfielder, when he was shown a straight red card in the dying minutes for deliberate handball at North Ferriby.
Assistant boss Sam Collins, who was in charge of the Pools side for the Final Third Development League, told SportMail the club needed to clarify whether the dismissal will rule out the 26-year-old at Gigg Lane.
Featherstone had certainly not done his chances any harm of featuring against Bury after shining against his home club last night.
“We’re not sure how things stand, we’re trying to double check,” said Collins, who was unhappy with the referee’s decision.
“The ref’s said it was deliberate handball, but I’m not sure there was any intent from Nicky.
“Even if he sees it as a penalty, it would have been nice for a bit of common-sense refereeing – it was the last minute, they were 3-1 up and I’m not sure he needed to be pulling out his red card.
“Nicky’s had a good game. He’s a good pro, an experienced lad in a young side, and he’s played well.”
Featherstone, who recently signed a deal to stay at the Vic until the end of the season, did not feature in last Saturday’s home defeat by Stevenage but had caught the eye as a sub against Portsmouth and helped Pools over the finishing line against Northampton.
The East Yorkshire-born player was the senior figure in a Pools side full of youth.
There was some promise in the first half against a Tigers side looking for their third win on the spin against Pools.
Connor Smith looked bright and his cross set up trialist John Cofie who was denied by Hull keeper Erik Bukran.
Brad Walker, who also played well, was then put in by Smith, but the keeper saved from the teenager’s strong effort.
Pools could easily have been two up but they were made to pay for not putting away their chances when Jonathon Margetts turned and shot underneath Jon Maxted to put the hosts 1-0 up just before the half-hour.
Margetts extended Hull’s lead just before the interval from the spot after Josh Nearney had conceded a penalty.
The striker completed his hat-trick on the hour from close range.
Hull twice were denied by the woodwork before Featherstone pulled one back, robbing the City centre-half before side-footing home via the post.
But after celebrating a rare goal, he was then sent off for handball, although Hull could not convert as sub keeper James Dawson saved Connor Townsend’s penalty.
Collins was left upset to lose for the third time in a row to his former club.
“We had a youngish team, but so did Hull,” said Ronnie Moore’s right-hand man.
“We did all right in the first half and
should have had two or three goals.
“I am disappointed we lost that game.
“While the ages of the sides were pretty similar, with the exception of Nicky, I would say we had more in terms of actual league experience.
“We had more experience than them and enough players to handle a game like that no problem.
“Overall, I think we should be winning a match like that.”
Pools: Maxted (Dawson 46), Richards, Howes, Featherstone, Nearney, D Jones, Cofie (Blackford 46), Walker, Smith, Jewson (Armstrong 75), Holden.
Subs not used: Carr, Cunningham.