PNE in Numbers: Does Ben Pearson deserve his place on the naughty step?

Another day, another Ben Pearson ban for Preston North End boss Alex Neil to mull over.

Friday, 9th February 2018, 2:00 pm
Ben Pearson starts a two-game ban at Brentford on Saturday.

You have to take the rough with the smooth with the midfielder.

Such an influential figure, it’s an occupational hazard unfortunately that his combative style means he is going to miss a few games every season through suspension.

After 16 bookings last season his 10th of this campaign came midway through the second half of the 2-1 win over Hull City last time out meaning a two-game ban begins when North End head to Brentford on Saturday.

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The man who looks like his most natural replacement in the PNE squad, John Welsh, is also no stranger to a card.

The tough-tackling veteran took just four minutes to go in the referee’s book in the FA Cup exit at Sheffield United last month.

In fact, stats show that Welsh, admittedly involved less under Neil this season, is the more prolific offender of the two.

In terms of minutes per booking, the 34-year-old gets on the wrong side of officials every 137 minutes, having made nine appearances this season.

Pearson, who picked up a first career red card at Leeds back in August, is booked every 197 minutes by way of comparison.

He has certainly picked up from where he left off last season with his 16 bookings coming every 179 minutes.

Daniel Johnson, next in line for a ban on nine yellow cards, is booked every 217 minutes.

The most angelic member of the PNE squad is surprisingly a defender.

Ben Davies has only been booked once, away to Norwich in November, meaning his cards only come once every 1,935 minutes.

Not bad for someone who tackles for a living.

Whoever is tasked with filling Pearson’s boots this weekend, they will be contending with a Brentford side who aren’t shy when it comes to going for goal.

The Bees have attempted the most shots of any side in the top four divisions, their current tally standing at an impressive 531.

It’s 66 better than second-placed Manchester City, a side you’d expect to be up there, given their position as runaway Premier League leaders.

Brentford might be losing their touch though, ahead of welcoming PNE, the nine attempts at goal last time out in their 3-0 defeat at Derby was their lowest total in a league game this season.

Thanks to Martin Atherton for his help with the stats