Triple trouble for Baps

Alex Baptiste is sent off by referee Peter Bankes in the 3-0 defeat at Leeds
Alex Baptiste is sent off by referee Peter Bankes in the 3-0 defeat at Leeds

Alex Baptiste will be hit with a three-game suspension for his sending off in Preston’s defeat to Leeds.

The defender was sent off in the 86th minute at Elland Road for aiming a kick at Pablo Hernandez.

Baptiste had just tackled Hernandez and launched a long ball up-field when they tangled.

It was seen by the assistant running the line on the far side of the pitch and referee Peter Bankes gave him a red card for violent conduct.

With it being a straight red, North End can appeal it.

However, they would need video footage to mount a case and the main camera which provided the highlights did not capture it – the camera 
followed the ball after Baptiste cleared.

The defender, recently back from three months out with a knee injury, will miss the Huddersfield, Norwich and Newcastle games.

PNE boss Simon Grayson said: “I didn’t see anything. Baps said the assistant linesman gave it from the far side for kicking out.

“He says he hasn’t done 
anything and I can’t comment.

“It was a straight red and if we don’t feel it warranted it, we will look at the situation.”

Baptiste’s dismissal capped an unhappy afternoon for North End in Yorkshire.

Their play-off hopes look to have been dashed, the 3-0 defeat coupled with results elsewhere leaving them eight points shy of sixth place with five matches to play.

The aim now must be to secure a strong finish to the campaign.

Grayson rued defensive mistakes at one end and missed chances at the other in the defeat.

All three Leeds goals were avoidable from North End’s point of view, Tom Clarke, Baptiste and Paul Huntington making errors.

Tom Barkhuizen had two good chances in the opening 13 minutes, seeing a header saved by Robert Green and then shooting wide when clear on goal.

At 2-0 down, Barkhuizen struck the bar after being first to the rebound after an Aiden McGeady shot had been pushed out by Green.

Said Grayson: “I think the scoreline was a bit harsh.

“We created some good chances, had good possession and played some decent 

“But we made key mistakes at key times and if you do that against a strong team like Leeds, they punish you.

“When you are playing in front of 30,000, it becomes a difficult place to play.

“Had we taken our chances it would have been a totally different outcome. Us scoring first would have changed the atmosphere in the ground.”

North End were without Jordan Hugill, this the first time he had not been involved in a league game since August.

The striker was left with concussion after a clash of heads late in last Tuesday’s win over Bristol City.

Said Grayson: “Jordan had a bit of concussion and that ruled him out.

“We decided to set up with Callum Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen up front. I thought they would cause problems.”