Sean Gregan’s exclusive column

Joe Garner is red carded

Joe Garner is red carded

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Preston North End having Joe Garner and Bailey Wright sent-off against Wolves on Saturday was a reminder of the time we went down to nine men in an away game at Nottingham Forest in 2000.

We were quite new to the division and had a tough old day as referee Barry Knight sent-off Graham Alexander and later Colin Murdock.

The gaffer David Moyes was fuming and did his best Pat Cash impression, clambering up into the stand at full-time in order to grab a word with the referee’s assessor!

I thought at the time ‘what is he doing?’ as I looked up from the pitch to see Moyesy climbing over the rows of seats. It was long before the days of camera phones which meant it was not reported much in the media.

Had that been captured on film, I’m sure someone would have dug it out when Moyes was appointed Manchester United’s manager or when he was having a tough time there.

Looking at the circumstances of Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Wolves, you would have to say it was a good point bearing in mind they were down to 10 men for much of the game and nine for the closing minutes.

But when you see that the equaliser from Wolves came in stoppage-time, you get a bit of a sense of disappointment.

It is quite unusual to get two players from the same team sent-off in a game.

Sometimes you see things evened up with someone on the other team getting a red.

When I was playing and the opposition had a player sent-off, we were always warned to watch our step and not give the referee an excuse to even the numbers up.

Garner’s red card came in his first game back after he had served a one-match ban for five bookings.

He plays on the edge, even if Garner has had a yellow card in the games I’ve seen, he will carry on making challenges.

This one was a straight red and it is a three-game ban for him which won’t do North End any favours.

That said, it is a chance for someone else to come into the team and show the manager they should start regularly.

You would think with the red card for Wright, the ref might have used some more common sense. To book him twice in the space of three minutes looks a bit harsh and maybe a quiet word in the lad’s ear after the second one might have been the more sensible option.

I keep hearing the call for ex-players to go into refereeing but is that really the answer?

The argument is that with them having played the game to a good level, they can use that experience and common sense to officiate games well and deal with the players.

But would they be allowed to use their common sense?

Looking at the table, it is not nice to see North End in the bottom three.

They have the company of MK Dons and Bristol City in there, those being the two teams who came up with them from League One.

As I wrote last week in this column, it is a big step between League One and the Championship.

You are going up against sides who spend £10m on two midfielders.

I do think that North End will settle in the division, after all we are only nine games in to the season.

The turnover of players has been quite high, Adam Reach the latest in a list of signings.

It takes time to integrate players into the squad.

The last two results, against Bournemouth and Wolves, have been encouraging and hopefully PNE are going in the right direction.