Boss Alex Neil demands that Preston North End put a stop to red cards

Ryan Ledson (left) is shown the red card by referee Andy Madley as Joe Rafferty looks on
Ryan Ledson (left) is shown the red card by referee Andy Madley as Joe Rafferty looks on

Alex Neil says Preston have to cut out the red cards if they want to be genuine play-off challengers next season.

The PNE manager had no sympathy for midfielder Ryan Ledson after his sending off in the first half of yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Wigan.

Ledson’s chest-high tackle on Kal Naismith earned him a straight red card in the 38th minute at the DW Stadium.

With it being his second dismissal of the campaign, he will get a four-game ban.

That will rule Ledson out of the last two matches of this season and the first two of the 2019/20 campaign.

While there was support for him in some quarters in that he slipped as he made the tackle – propelling his foot a bit higher – Neil did not see it that way.

Neil said: “He might well have slipped but with the ball being as high as it was, why did he use his foot in the first place?

“It has been too often from us in general that we have put ourselves in a difficult situation.

“You don’t see the teams at the top end of the division doing that regularly, that is why they are up there.

“They make good decisions at crucial times – here we didn’t make a good decision.

“We got a red card because of it and after that we made it really difficult for ourselves.

“Whatever number of red cards we have got this season, it is far too many.

“If we had kept 11 men on the pitch we would have given ourselves a far better chance of winning the game.

“When Ryan went off that early, naturally it became a lot more difficult.

“I don’t think anyone could fault our performance in the second half, we had a good go.

“As far as I am concerned it is easy to have a good go when you are losing a game. As you know, I don’t like losing and I don’t like losing in the manner we did.

“There were a few things which didn’t go our way.”

North End have had eight red cards this season shown to five players.

Paul Gallagher also got a retrospective dismissal early in the campaign.

Collectively, 20 games have been missed by those players due to suspensions from those sendings-off.

The one thing which lifted Neil’s dark mood post-match was reflecting on the displays from a handful of players in the second half.

Neil said: “I thought Sean Maguire was excellent in the second half, so too Gally and Daniel Johnson.

“In the second half Ben Davies was much better and Darnell Fisher was excellent.

“You could see we had some key players in put in some good performances.

“However, we didn’t play with as much purpose as we needed to.”