Preston midfielder Paul Gallagher's elbow on Joe Allen could land him with a suspension

Preston manager Alex Neil has jumped to the defence of Paul Gallagher over an incident during the draw with Stoke City which could see him face retrospective action from the Football Association.

Monday, 20th August 2018, 10:17 am
Updated Monday, 20th August 2018, 11:20 am

Gallagher caught Potters midfielder Joe Allen in the face with an elbow but it was not seen by referee Andrew Madley.

However, it was caught on camera by Sky and footage can be used by the FA to look back on such incidents which the officials didn’t see.

If a dim view is taken of the first-half incident, Gallagher could face a three-game ban, the same punishment as if he had received a red card.

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Preston North End's Paul Gallagher

The 33-year-old midfielder went on to give the Lilywhites the lead from the penalty spot in an absorbing game which ended in a 2-2 draw

Neil said: “Gally did catch him, hence the reason Joe has got a wee mark on his nose.

“You know Paul better than me, you have watched him for years and years here.

“He has never put a dirty tackle in during the whole of my time working with him.

“At half-time he did say to me ‘I did catch him gaffer but I didn’t mean it. I put my hand up to protect myself, he came across and I have caught him on the side of the face’.

“People will have a look and make their own judgement, I can’t do anything about that.

“But I know the character of Paul Gallagher and I know he wouldn’t go out to try and hurt anyone.”

Gallagher had got the nod to start his first league game of the season having come on as a substitute in the opening two Championship clashes.

He had started the League Cup win over Morecambe and Neil wanted to use his range of passing against the Potters.

Neil said: “I thought that Gally was excellent.

“I wanted the wingers dropping into pockets and that is why Graham Burke came in to give us that bit of quality.

“We had Lukas Nmecha and Alan Browne stretching them from the front.

“With us stretching things like that, I wanted someone to control the ball for us and that is what Gally did.”

Gallagher came off in the 83rd minute after getting a knock on his calf.

“It was a little bit tight, he got a kick on it so we had to bring him off,” said Neil.

An entertaining game saw Gallagher’s penalty quickly equalised by Erik Pieters.

Burke restored the lead in first-half stoppage-time but Peter Crouch levelled things up again in the 61st minute.

Neil said: “We played some really nice football in the first half, while in the second half the game was a bit direct.

“I like playing nice football but I’d rather win. I would rather it be a scruffy game and we win 2-1, that would make me more pleased.”