PNE set to appeal Pickford dismissal

Preston players surround the ref after Keeper Jordan Pickford is sent off.
Preston players surround the ref after Keeper Jordan Pickford is sent off.
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Preston North End will today launch an appeal to the FA to try and save Jordan Pickford from missing the Boxing Day trip to Huddersfield through suspension.

The Lilywhites goalkeeper was sent-off after 31 minutes of yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Leeds at Elland Road.

Referee Gavin Ward produced the red card after appearing to rule that Pickford had handled the ball outside his box as he challenged home striker Chris Wood.

North End are awaiting the ref’s report to see whether the red was for deliberate handball or that the keeper was judged to be the last man and had fouled Wood.

Video footage suggests the ball struck the top of his chest, near to the shoulder. They have until 1pm today to submit the paperwork for an appeal, with a verdict due within 24 hours.

Pickford’s dismissal meant a senior debut for 17-year-old Matt Hudson who was on the bench in the absence of Chris Kirkland who has been laid low by a virus.

He was beaten by Alan Browne’s own goal early in the second half which he could do nothing about.

On Friday, Hudson had played for PNE’s youth team against Accrington Stanley.

Last season, he was on the bench twice for the first team, in the FA Cup games against Sheffield United and Manchester United.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “We can appeal the red card.

“We will look at all the footage and hopefully there is enough evidence for us to get it overturned.

“To start with, we have to see whether it has hit Jordan on the hand or arm.

“If it has, then was it deliberate with no cover, so denying a goalscoring opportunity?

“We felt the centre-halves were coming around to cover, were level with Jordan and their lad and would have won the race.

“Do we feel hard done by? Yes we do. It hindered us because it is hard enough playing at Elland Road 11 versus 11, let alone after having one of the best goalkeepers sent off.

“Matt didn’t have much to do after coming on but keeping 11 players on the pitch would surely have made a difference.”

Grayson was pleased with North End’s performance, his side creating some good chances early on in the game.

Even when a man down, they went close to equalising.

“We were the dominant side after Leeds had scored and their keeper had to make some good saves,” said Grayson.

“I thought we controlled the game with 10 men and I wonder what the story would have been had we still had 11 players on?”