Yellow, not red, has been the colour we associate with Ben Pearson, begging the question was last week’s sending-off a touch out of character?
That might seem a strange statement about the Preston midfielder for who falling on the wrong side of referees could be regarded an occupational hazard.
But in general, Pearson’s disciplinary issues revolve around the bookings he gets.
Just once prior to Bolton’s visit last week had he seen red, that being at Leeds early last season for two yellows.
For him to have lost his rag and got a straight red for a headbutt after the final whistle was a lot different than we had seen before.
Perhaps Pearson had just been lucky to get this far without tempting referees to produce red and not yellow.
However, his actions tend to be niggly rather than what happened against Bolton.
We will probably never quite get to the heart of what happened last week, save to say it triggered the North End midfielder to get more wound-up than normally he might.
Events were not captured on video, that going against Preston in terms of when they were mulling over whether to appeal Pearson’s red card.
The upshot is that North End will have to do without his services for three games.
When you factor in the current international break, it is a ban which covers a fair time – he won’t be available until the League Cup clash with Middlesbrough on the 25th of this month.
Pearson will train and be kept busy in the meantime but it’s a lengthy spell not to have competitive football.
Whatever the whys and wherefores of events against Bolton, the suspension is time Pearson could put to good use in terms of trying to cut out some of the darker arts from his game.
We are not talking about the tackling here – that goes with the territory – it is the back-chat and the temper.
Yellow cards for mistimed challenges can be forgiven easily but unnecessary lip and dissent cannot.
It is those annoying ones which tend to make the list of bookings stack up quicker than they should.
PNE have coped without Pearson before, after all he’s had his share of suspensions for the strong of cautions.
Last year too, actually at this same stage of the season, he missed a month or so of action through injury.
North End’s record was actually very decent when without him.
But they need Pearson, he is the heartbeat of the team.
I noticed the comments of Bolton boss Phil Parkinson last week who remarked how in previous encounters it was Pearson who ran the show and dominated midfield.
His suspension covers the games against Reading, Leeds and Sheffield United.
Let’s not be fooled into thinking Reading will be a soft touch because of their current status in the bottom three, hence Pearson will be missed as North End look to hit the winning track.
Then Elland Road and Bramall Lane are two venues you would prefer to be going to with Pearson’s name on the team sheet.
PNE beat Leeds the other week there in the League Cup but I would imagine the September 18 visit will be a different proposition.
His natural cover, Ryan Ledson, is also suspended for Reading and Leeds.
So the midfield pool will need to be dug deep into.
Whoever gets the nod, however Alex Neil chooses to cover for Pearson, North End will need to start picking up their form.
They’ve not enjoyed the start they hoped for, just the one Championship win on the opening day to savour.
You could argue that PNE should have had a couple more points on the board.
Think second-half against Swansea when they camped in the home side’s half at the Liberty Stadium.
Mind you, Swansea could have been further ahead by half-time which gives a bit of balance to that argument.
North End should have beaten Stoke and Bolton but they didn’t, having to make do with a one from both.
That is going over old ground, the focus now on having a more productive September and October than they had in the league during August.
The next month will keep them busy, with seven games between next Saturday and October 6.
Hit a bit of form when the games come quickly and the league table can soon have a much brighter look about it.
That’s the flip side of that too, this not a time to fall right off the pace.
Changing topic, last week saw the transfer window shut until January.
Technically it wasn’t the transfer window, more so the EFL’s loan window.
But effectively it had been business as usual even after the ‘proper’ window closed on August 9.
The loan window allowed trading to continue, the only change being that the ‘sold’ stamp had to be officially delayed until January.
I don’t see any argument against the window reverting back to August 31 next year in the Football League – rather than have the two tiers, keep it simple with one deadline.
This year was a chance to look at the earlier cut-off for permanent deals and then have the short loan window.
But it effectively blurred into one.