PNE boss Simon Grayson said experienced front man Jermaine Beckford should have been able to keep a cool head after he was sent off just five minutes into his return from suspension.
Preston crashed to a 4-1 defeat against Leeds on Boxing Day but it was the striker’s second dismissal in as many games that was the lasting memory for most.
The front man kicked out at Kyle Bartley after feeling he had been kneed in the back by the Whites defender having only entered the field moments earlier, coming off the bench against his former club as he returned after clashing with team mate Eoin Doyle at Sheffield Wednesday three weeks ago.
His latest misdemeanour opens the door for others with Doyle returning from his ban late on against Leeds, Stevie May approaching full fitness and new signing Daryl Horgan having arrived from Dundalk.
“Sometimes in the heat of the moment you do things you shouldn’t do,” said Grayson, who stopped short of condemning Beckford as he had done for the clash with Doyle.
“You like to think with your older players they can withstand things like that.
“He’s a good footballer and we want him to be out on the pitch but we’re going to be without him for four games.
“It’s difficult for the supporters and the players because we thought we were well and truly in the game.
“It gives someone else an opportunity to be in and around the 18 which hopefully someone will benefit from.”
Grayson was less than impressed with the performance of referee Jeremy Simpson, feeling Bartley could have been shown a second booking for his part in the incident.
“Jermaine’s got a knee in the back and then there’s some legs flying around and one’s caught Bartley in the face,” said the PNE boss.
“There could have been a second yellow card.
“I think the referee missed one on (Simon) Makienok when (Pontus) Jansson stamped on him.
“It was inconsistent from the referee for both teams.”
In a frantic Boxing Day clash PNE shipped goals with alarming ease, Marnick Vermijl grabbing one for North End as they came away with nothing.
“The first one comes from a soft free-kick,” Grayson said.
“I’m not sure why it was given in the first place, then we don’t defend the first ball and when you do that you’ve got to react to the second one.
“One of our players then didn’t stay with their runner for the second goal.
“We reacted well and got back to 2-1 and you think ‘right, we can get something here’.
“But we’ve been working on Leeds having players who like to drive into the box all week from wide areas and we allowed them to do it and score.
“We had a go second half right up to the sending off and it made it very difficult for us.”