Port Vale: Micky Adams backs John McCombe after Northampton red card
MICKY Adams is backing defender John McCombe over the tackle which left Northampton striker Alex Nicholls with a broken leg.
The Port Vale boss insisted the centre-half's sliding challenge was a genuine attempt to play the ball.
• GALLERY: Match Action: Northampton Town 2 Port Vale 0
McCombe was shown a straight red after a last-gasp bid to prevent Nicholls from putting the Cobblers ahead.
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It left the former Walsall front man, who scored anyway, needing an operation on a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula, but Adams said McCombe was genuinely sorry.
"John is distraught over the incident," he said. We all know about him and there's no way he's a malicious player."
Adams said all his thoughts were now with Nicholls.
"I feel for the lad and everyone connected with Port Vale wishes him all the best in his recovery," he added.
Adams reckoned the 20th-minute incident, which left Vale both a goal and a man down, changed the course of the game.
Northampton scored a second through Louis Moult before half-time and when Gareth Owen, making his first start of the season, was forced off with injury at half-time, there was no way back.
"We're very much up against it after the sending off," said Adams. "The game changed on that and it all went wrong for us."
Owen has a severe dead-leg and was taken to hospital after the game. The extent of his injury will be further assessed today."
The manager, however, refused to be drawn on the performance of referee Richard Clark.
The Northumberland official got several big decisions wrong and gave McCombe a red card when yellow would have perhaps sufficed.
"I don't want to have a go at refs because all that does is cost me money," said Adams.