Preston North End are puzzled by outcome of Tom Barkhuizen sending-off appeal

Preston North End have been left somewhat puzzled by the outcome of their appeal to the FA over Tom Barkhuizen’s red card against Stoke.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 8:00 am

There was an element of both failure and success to the appeal which was heard by a disciplinary panel yesterday.

The appeal against the red card was rejected, the panel backing the decision of referee Matt Donohue to dismiss Barkhuizen for a challenge on Morgan Fox.

However, the three-game ban which a straight red card for dangerous play carries was reduced to just one match.

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Tom Barkhuizen’s red card for a challenge on Morgan Fox has been upheld by the FA

That means Barkhuizen will miss Sunday’s tricky trip to Brentford.

Although two fewer games on the sidelines is welcome, PNE were disappointed that the sending-off was upheld.

Their case was that it was an accident on Barkhuizen’s part, in that he slipped when chasing a loose ball, resulting in him sliding into Fox.

Video footage clearly showed Barkhuizen losing his footing. He also managed to move his foot away, with the impact between him and Fox being knee to knee.

Post-match on Saturday, North End manager Alex Neil admitted to not seeing the slip in real time.

But after watching the incident back, Neil felt there was no intent on Barkhuizen’s part and the slip had been the big factor.

Neil said: “He’s running towards the ball to try and get there, he tries to slow down realising he’s probably not going to make it and then starts to lose his footing and sort of slides into the tackle.

“I certainly don’t think there was any signal of intent there.”

With the appeal process now finished, Neil will now turn his attention to who to replace Barkhuizen with at Brentford. The 27-year-old has started PNE’s three Championship games to date, playing up front against Swansea, as a winger at Norwich and as a wing-back in the Stoke match.

It will bring Josh Harrop and Billy Bodin into the equation, depending on formation.

Bodin started the Swansea game and the Brighton clash in the Carabao Cup but has been on the bench otherwise.

Harrop’s three starts have come in the Carabao Cup, with him on the bench for the league matches.

Barkhuizen will be back for the Cardiff game on October 18 after the international break.

Meanwhile, Lilywhites midfielder Alan Browne has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for three games during the international break. But PNE team-mate Sean Maguire misses out.

The Irish play Slovakia in a Euro Championship play-off semi-final on October 8, then face Wales and Finland in the UEFA Nations League.