PETER JACKSON today branded the FA appeals process "a disgrace" after Jon Worthington's red card at Accrington was upheld.
On the eve of Town's clash with Division III leaders Hull City at the McAlpine (3.00), the manager spoke of his disbelief at the decision which means Worthington will serve a three-match ban against Cheltenham, Macclesfield and Oxford.
"Everyone I've spoken to has said it was not a sending off, so it makes you wonder why we even bother having an appeals process when something like Jon's red doesn't get overturned," said Jackson.
"I think it's disgraceful and totally unbelieveable they've decided it wasn't wrongful dismissal and I can't see us ever appealing again because it's just not worth it.
"Not only did the red card contribute to our exit from the FA Cup, but we are now without a valuable player for three games."
Town forfeit a £300 appeal fee after submitting evidence to the FA's video advisory panel and sending written pleas from the club and from Worthington himself.
Town refuted every element of the report of referee Mike Jones, which stated: "Worthington made a late, high and wreckless challenge on an opponent using excessive force and without consideration for his opponent's safety."
Despite the package of evidence, the FA's letter to Town read: "The video advisory panel have come back with a verdict that in their view this was not a case of wrongful dismissal and, accordingly, the appeal fails and the red card stands."
Worthington, who was dismissed for serious foul play in the 1-0 defeat, plays against Peter Taylor's Tigers tomorrow and Mansfield next week before sitting it out.
Jackson is without nine senior players through suspension and injury: Yates, Sodje, Fowler, Edwards, Holdsworth, Holland, Gray, Newby and Ahmed.
Goalkeeper Phil Senior makes his first start of the season while physio and goalkeeping coach Lee Martin will be on the bench. He hasn't played for Town since a 2-0 home defeat to Peterborough in March 1992. Dave Buckby will be in the dugout to cover physio duties.
Tony Carss (knee) trained yesterday and should be back for the first time in three matches, while striker Jon Stead (calf) will be asked to prove his fitness by tomorrow, when wingers John Thorrington and Tyrone Thompson are in the depleted squad.
"All 17 of our fit senior pros will report for what is our biggest match of the season, and it's a great opportunity for them " said Jackson.
"There will be a tremendous atmosphere from a crowd of near 15,000 and I want my team to respond positively to that.
"Things haven't been going well for us, but I've had some great messages of support this week and I'm glad we've got a massive game to look forward to.
"People might think we've gone off the boil, but Hull won't relish coming here and I don't want to disappoint them."
Hull, who have won only once in six outings but have been beaten just once in the League all season, are expected to have Alan Fettis back in goal.
Ex-Town loan man Damien Delaney is in defence while nine-goal leading scorer Danny Allsopp is again expected to miss out, giving Jamie Forrester a first start of the season.
Town - (from) Senior, Clarke, Mattis, Hughes, Brown, Worthington, Carss, Lloyd, Thorrington, Mirfin, Thompson, Scott, Stead, Booth, Schofield, Booty, Martin.
Hull - Fettis, Hinds, Joseph, Delaney, Dawson, Price, Ashbee, Green, Elliott, Forrester, Burgess. Subs (from): Whittle, Musselwhite, Keates, France, Holt.
Referee - Grant Hegley (Herts).