Carlisle United manager Steven Pressley says he plans to speak to refereeing authorities over what he has described as “disrespect” towards the lower leagues.

Pressley was fuming that United were denied a “stonewall” penalty for handball in last night’s Carabao Cup defeat at Rochdale.

The Blues boss felt that was the latest in a series of questionable decisions his team have faced.

He suggested sub-standard officials have been promoted to referee at Carlisle’s level and said clubs deserve better.

After last night’s 2-1 defeat at Spotland, Pressley said: “I’m going to speak to the refereeing association tomorrow [Wednesday], because I’m not satisfied.

“There’s a couple of things that frustrate me. Since the new VAR system has come into play, they’ve promoted the referees from lower to higher, and then promoted the non-league [referees from] the National League, to our league.

“Do we not matter? Do decisions against my team not affect me, do decisions about things not affect livelihoods?

“It’s disrespectful what they’ve done in the game, because I think we’re suffering. I think the refereeing is of a bad standard in this moment.”

Carlisle were awarded one penalty last night when Harry McKirdy was fouled, leading Jack Bridge to score.

Later, though, ref Peter Wright waved away strong appeals for a second spot-kick when a McKirdy cross appeared to strike a Rochdale arm.

“A hundred per cent they got it wrong, I cannot understand for the life of me how he doesn’t give it,” Pressley said.

“I’ve been into the referee’s room to speak to them on it. What was explained to me at the referees’ get-together was if your hands are in what you’d consider a natural position, and the ball strikes them from a yard away, it’s no penalty. Accepted.

“But if they’re in an unnatural position, it’s a penalty. It struck his hand almost up at his head. It’s as stonewall as you’re going to get and I’m sick and tired of it.

“In the last three or four games, [we had a] handball at Cheltenham, a foul on Byron [Webster, against Salford], and a penalty that was absolutely clear tonight. It kills me.”

Asked what last night’s officials had said to him about the handball that wasn’t, Pressley said: “They weren’t sure it [the player's arm] was in an unnatural position. But they’ll look at it.”

Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for match officials in the English leagues, have been invited to respond to Pressley’s comments.