Preston North End will have to manage without Ben Pearson for another three games after his red card in last night’s Deepdale defeat to Leeds United.
The combative midfielder got his marching orders in the 48th minute for bringing down Patrick Bamford when the United striker was through on goal.
It was Bamford who went on to score both goals for Leeds in their 2-0 win.
Pearson’s straight red for denying a scoring opportunity is punishable by a one-game ban but he gets two matches extra for his two previous red cards this season.
The ban rules him out of Saturday’s Gentry Day visit to West Bromwich Albion and the Easter games with Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic.
By the time he returns to action, Pearson will have missed 13 matches through suspension this season.
He was also booked last night, that his 14th yellow card of the campaign.
One more when he returns would land him a three-game ban for totting-up 15 cautions.
North End boss Alex Neil had no complaints about the red card but felt Pearson might have been hard done to with the earlier yellow.
Neil said: “It that I had been my player going through on goal, I would have been looking for a sending-off.
“I’m not sitting here saying it wasn’t a foul or anything like that.
“We made a mistake as we had control of possession at the time.
“Leeds counter-attacked us with one pass and got in behind us.
“Ben had to try and cover and made the challenge.”
With regards Pearson’s 14th-minute booking, Neil saw more of an injustice – more so as a similar challenge by Leeds right-back Luke Ayling went unpunished by a card later.
Ayling caught Josh Earl with a late challenge but referee Robert Jones gave a free-kick but kept his book in his pocket.
Neil said “To be fair to the lad Jack Harrison, he bounced straight back up and wanted to get on with it.
“Ben went for the ball, he went to make a tackle and missed the ball.
“Our frustration is that Luke Ayling made exactly the same tackle on the far side of the pitch and he didn’t get booked.
“We speak regularly about Ben and referees do target him with bookings to quieten him down.
“He doesn’t do himself any favours at times but I didn’t think we had our fair share in this game.”
Bamford gave the visitors a 62nd-minute lead with a fine finish from 25 yards, then headed a second goal 14 minutes later.
Neil said: “After the game I went in to see my players and told them how proud I was about how they had played up to the sending-off.
“We went toe-to-toe with a side who I think are the best in the Championship.
“A mistake cost us and it gave Leeds the upper hand.”