Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has suggested the club will appeal against a six-match ban dished out to his assistant Jamie McAllister by the Football Association.
As things stand McAllister, who was not at the Stadium of Light as the Black Cats finished the season with a 1-1 draw, is set to be away from the dressing room for the Sky Bet League One play-off double header with Lincoln.
Johnson confirmed that the FA have hit his No 2 with a three-match stadium ban and a further three-match touchline ban, meaning he could be sat in the stands at Wembley should Sunderland overcome the Imps.
McAllister has been punished for his part in the club’s explosive Easter meeting with Oxford when the U’s goalkeeper Jack Stevens is alleged to have been headbutted by one of the home side’s backroom staff at the interval.
Johnson said: “Jamie has a six-game ban. At the moment I am not sure that has come out. Currently he has been charged and has got a six-match ban. Three of those are stadium bans, three are touchline bans. We have the opportunity to appeal.
“My early thought process is that we will appeal. We have to have grounds to appeal and we believe we have got that, we believe it is unjust.”
The FA confirmed the ban on Sunday evening, saying McAllister had also been fined £3,000, with Sunderland defending their man only for the independent commission to rule differently.
Sunderland finished fourth after Carl Winchester levelled things up by tapping in after Jordan Jones’ curling effort which hit both posts with three minutes remaining.
That arrived three minutes after Sam Hoskins had put relegated Northampton in front with a deflected free-kick.
Lincoln will travel to the Stadium of Light for the second leg of the semi-final on Saturday, May 22, for the right to go to Wembley after Sunderland head to Sincil Bank on Wednesday, May 19.
Johnson said: “The first part is I am pleased with the outcome, the second leg is at home, that is important. I’d have liked to win with more style. But today’s mission is completed.
“In terms of the game, it was a difficult game for us, with the opposition relegated, and a lot of their pressure had been released. How we played was a bit sticky. There was not enough penetrative action.”
Northampton, who finished 22nd, are heading back to League Two after one season despite giving a good account of themselves on Wearside.
Hoskins, a forward, was on the scoresheet despite making a surprise appearance at right-back.
Jon Brady, who was handed the Cobblers manager’s job on a permanent basis last week, said: “These are places we want to get back to as quickly as we can. Next year, when we miss stadia like this, it has to be the ambition to get back for the players.
“Overall it was good to finish off with a positive result. We will now sit down and meet the players on Tuesday and we will know who we will retain. But there is a lot of work to be done.
“We want to be competitive but we want our youngsters to get an opportunity. They have to deserve and earn a right to force a way through, we want them to be hungry, strong and ready.
“As for Sam (Hoskins), for all the stick he gets off people, I can’t fathom it. He gives so much effort. I said we are struggling in defensive positions, so I asked him to play there, he said ‘yes’. He is not selfish. He played very well there and showed good game intelligence too.”