Stevenage today leapt to the defence of caretaker manager Mark Sampson after he faced fresh allegations in the build-up to this weekend’s clash with Carlisle United.

Sampson, the former England women’s team head coach, is in temporary charge at winless Boro after last Sunday’s sacking of Dino Maamria.

It emerged in national newspaper reports that the Football Association have received a complaint about an allegedly discriminatory comment made during a conversation about transfer targets at Stevenage.

The Daily Mail claimed Sampson allegedly said the club should not pursue a certain player because he was Nigerian. An FA spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that they were “investigating the matter”.

Stevenage have said they have already completed an initial investigation and found the complaint had no substance. Sampson is understood to deny the allegations.

The club this morning issued a statement in which chairman Phil Wallace said the allegations had “no foundation”, and that they had “followed strict procedures” in looking into the complaint.

“The claimant was offered the chance to make a formal complaint but declined this opportunity, instead choosing to call the FA,” Wallace said.

“Nevertheless, CEO Alex Tunbridge acted immediately to interview and take statements from two individuals the claimant said were witnesses, as well as others that were present in the same meeting, but not mentioned by the claimant.

“In each case the witnesses did not support the allegations. Given that overwhelming outcome and the circumstances of the allegation, the club concluded there was no case to answer. Both the FA and the Daily Mail were informed of that outcome.

“What I find surprising is that the Daily Mail still decided to run a story and the FA decided to acknowledge its existence, when both had been told the evidence did not support the allegation made.

“Perhaps now that the FA have the evidence, they will make it clear there is no case to answer,” Wallace added.

“Guilt by association – especially when the person is well known - is a common weapon to use against folks in the public eye and when we find it has no foundation, we should be equally clear in making that known.”

The 36-year-old Sampson will be joined by Alex Revell in the dugout against Steven Pressley’s Blues, after Maamria became the season’s first managerial casualty.

Sampson said he wants his players to be positive as they bid to claim their first win of the campaign.

“It has been a difficult period – it’s never nice when a colleague loses their job and [especially] someone so heavily connected to the club over many years,” he said in a club interview.

“We’ve dealt with the emotional side, spoke as a group about how thankful we were for the impact the manager had over many years, and wished him success for the future.

“For us now it’s about how we move forward. The overriding message is we’re all responsible and everyone has to take that responsibility so we’re impacting the mood in this environment.

“We want people to be positive, on the front foot and thinking they can express themselves,” he said. “The players’ reaction since Sunday’s news has been a credit to them as players and human beings.

“We’re working hard on the training pitch to produce a performance on Saturday.”