Preston North End boss Alex Neil sweating on Riverside sending-off verdict

Preston North End are set to lose skipper Alan Browne for three games and are waiting to see how the FA punish Alex Neil for his dismissal against Middlesbrough.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 8:00 am

Browne and Neil were both shown red cards in the 2-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium.

Referee Oliver Langford pulled out a straight red for Browne for kicking out at Sam Morsy in the 36th minute.

The midfielder is listed on the FA’s website as having a three-match ban pending, the usual penalty for violent conduct.

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Preston manager Alex Neil watches the second half at Middlesbrough from the stand

Unless North End decide to appeal or get the ban cut, Browne will miss Saturday’s game against Luton and the two Easter matches against Norwich and Swansea.

Neil’s protests on the pitch after the half-time whistle went, led to Mr Langford also showing him the red card. It prevented him being in the technical area for the second half, with the PNE boss watching the action from a few rows back in the stand.

Neil was adamant in the post-match press conference that he had not sworn or used aggressive behaviour when approaching the referee.

So any action taken against him is likely to be based on encroachment on to the pitch.

There is no set punishment for red cards shown to managers and coaches, each case is taken on merit.

Browne’s dismissal was an annoying one for Neil to take, as it left PNE to chase the game with 10 men – they were 1-0 down at the time.

Neil said: “That was the first time I have lost to a Neil Warnock team – that’s really frustrating.

“We are tailor-made to play against that type of team because they want to lock you on. The long and short movements to work against that are what we do all the time. We’d started really well and the referee has denied us the opportunity to get points which are crucial to us.

“The most annoying thing about it for me was that when I went over to see the referee I decided to be overly pleasant so that I didn’t get in trouble.”

Neil explained that the last two substitutions he made at Boro were with the Luton game in mind on Saturday.

Ched Evans and Liam Lindsay came off, with Ben Whiteman and Joe Rafferty replacing them.

Said Neil: “With 10 men we played 4-3-2 – we could have gone 4-4-1 but with 4-4-1 you don’t see the ball much.

“We didn’t do it well enough and struggled in the second half.

“There came a point where I wanted to save some legs.

“I’m going to be without the captain for however many games it is and I didn’t want to lose anyone else.

“Ched was one , at 2-0 down with 20 minutes left it was getting difficult for him.”