Preston boss Alex Neil on Ben Pearson's 'harsh' Reading yellow

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Ben Pearson’s latest yellow card was unlucky according to Preston North End boss Alex Neil.

PNE’s tough-tackling midfielder was booked just 12 minutes into his return from suspension in the 1-0 victory over Reading at Deepdale on Saturday.

Ben Pearson looks on during Preston's win over Reading.

Ben Pearson looks on during Preston's win over Reading.

The challenge looked firm but fair on Leandro Bacuna but referee Andy Madley wasted no time in pulling out a card.

Pearson had missed the Derby defeat after being sent off at Leeds for two bookable offences, the first red card of his career.

It came on the back of the former Manchester United youngster picking up 16 bookings last season.

On Saturday however, Neil thought his midfield linchpin was hard done by.

Ben Pearson is led from the field after being sent off against Leeds.

Ben Pearson is led from the field after being sent off against Leeds.

“I thought his booking was extremely harsh,” said Neil after Jordan Hugill’s goal sealed a 1-0 win over the Royals.

“It was a slack ball from Jordan and Ben’s tried to do a recovery tackle.

“I’ve said to him before I don’t mind him getting booked for tackles, providing he’s not lunging into them.

“I felt a bit sorry for him on Saturday. I don’t think he deserved that.”

Following his dismissal at Elland Road, Neil insisted Pearson would have to cut down on the number of cards he picks up this season.

Despite another on Saturday the PNE boss is confident that will be the case going forwards, believing one of his key men has learned his lesson.

“We’ve spoken about the other part of his game,” Neil said.

“I told him he needs to make sure he doesn’t let himself down and he doesn’t let the team down.

“He understands that.

“He’ll be curbing his bookings for dissent and things like that.

“That’s something he will certainly be improving on.”

Neil admitted last week that Pearson was a big miss for his side in the sole league defeat of the season so far at Pride Park.

The North End manager is looking to bring in a similar type of player as cover for his No.4 between now and the end of the transfer window.

His 16 bookings last season, which resulted in a six games suspended in 2016-17, was a club record.

It did not stop Pearson being named the club’s Young Player of the Year, only pipped to the main gong by loan star Aiden McGeady.

He has now been booked 35 times in 103 senior club appearances.