Red cards were harsh – PNE boss

Preston North End's Neil Kilkenny is fouled by Bradford City's Kyle Bennett
Preston North End's Neil Kilkenny is fouled by Bradford City's Kyle Bennett
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson was unhappy with the red card shown to Neil Kilkenny in last night’s goalless draw at Bradford, but won’t appeal against it.

The Australian midfielder was dismissed together with Bantams winger Kyle Bennett in the 23rd minute of the Valley Parade clash.

They went for an early bath after pushing one another in the aftermath of Kilkenny winning a free-kick in the centre circle.

Both Grayson and City manager Phil Parkinson agreed that yellow cards would have sufficed, and felt referee Stuart Attwell had been hasty with the red cards.

Kilkenny and Bennett will now be suspended for three games, with Kilkenny missing the games against Notts County, Nottingham Forest and Tranmere.

Grayson said: “It was an entertaining 0-0 with a few incidents.

“But it wasn’t helped by the referee’s decision in the first half to send off the two players.

“There was nothing in it from either player. Both benches agreed that a yellow would have sufficed - you don’t want to see players get sent-off.

“If players get sent-off for shocking tackles or punching one another, fair enough.

“But they pushed each other in the neck or chest area.

“You have to use common sense sometimes. No one got hurt in the incident.

“Both teams were very disappointed with the decision, but we have to accept it.

“You can’t fault either side for working hard in tough conditions.

“It made it a more open game on a heavy pitch and I thought we had the better chances.

“Josh Brownhill hit the post, and Paul Gallagher and Joe Garner had a couple of close chances. I think we could have nicked it.”

Asked whether North End would appeal, Grayson doubted they would go down that line.

Appeals against red cards for Garner and Kevin Davies have already fallen on deaf ears this season.

Said Grayson: “I wouldn’t think we will appeal. Both players pushed each other.

“How many times do you get things overturned?

“Already this season we have failed to get two red cards overturned when we thought we had a strong case..

“We will accept it and Neil will miss three games – someone else will come in.

“I think the referee was very quick getting the red card out for their lad. Then he thought Neil had done the same thing and had to send him off.

“Maybe he could have given himself a bit more breathing space and given both lads yellow cards.”

Grayson was quick with his praise for teenager Brownhill who had PNE’s best chance with a shot against the post in the second half.

He said: “At the time it looked like Josh had hit it against the post, but the lads were saying afterwards that the keeper had made a good save and got a touch.

“Josh showed good energy against two experienced players in Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones. I was pleased with his performance.”