Preston North End in Numbers: Bad boy Ben Pearson in the doghouse again

Ben Pearson was sent off against Leeds on Tuesday night
Ben Pearson was sent off against Leeds on Tuesday night

Ben Pearson is a master of his craft when it comes to him collecting red and yellow cards.

The midfielder is back in the doghouse after his third sending-off of the season in Tuesday night’s defeat to Leeds United.

By the time he’s served the resulting suspension, the 24-year-old will have missed 13 matches through being banned in 2018/19.

If there was mitigation to put forward on this occasion, this latest red card was the least avoidable of his trio this campaign.

Pearson clipping Patrick Bamford as he went through on goal fell into the ‘take one for the team’ category rather than the plain daft.

If you are comparing it to aiming a head butt after the final whistle of the Bolton game in September or the raised foot follow-through at Sheffield Wednesday before Christmas, Tuesday night was like being caught doing 33mph in a 30 zone.

However, Pearson’s past still caught up with him, with the midfielder getting the extra two games on top of his one-match ban to mark the fact he had been sent off before twice.

The next game Pearson is available for is the April 27 visit of Sheffield Wednesday to Deepdale.

This season, Pearson has made 31 starts and had one game off the bench.

So this season’s red cards are coming on average at one every 10 games or so.

Pearson has played 2,688 minutes in all this term and he has been booked 14 times at an average of one every 192 minutes.

In his 116 games for the Lilywhites, he has been booked 45 times and sent off four times.

During his career for Barnsley and PNE, he has had 59 yellows and four reds in 167 games.

North End manager Alex Neil said: “Ben’s red card this week was more a case of him trying to cover for someone else’s mistake.

“A red card is like a goal in that when you analysis them, there are areas where you could have stopped it at source.

“I think the criticism which has come Ben’s way is not based on this red card but an accumulation of the red cards and bookings he’s had, not just this year but for the last two or three seasons.

“That is where people’s frustration comes in.”

Something Pearson will have to acknowledge when he is free to play again is that he is only a mistimed tackle or a word out of place away from another ban.

Before his straight red card against Leeds, he had been booked for a foul on Jack Harrison.

That’s 14 for the season and one more would see him banned for three games.

That would carry over into next season so he needs to watch his step.