LEEDS United are awaiting news on their appeal against Matt Smith’s red card at Sheffield Wednesday – and could receive the verdict as early as today.
United officially lodged their appeal against Smith’s dismissal, for violent conduct, yesterday afternoon with the FA and are pinning their hopes on the decision from referee Lee Probert being rescinded.
Manager Brian McDermott spoke with Probert after the shambolic 6-0 Championship mauling at Hillsborough and is expecting the FA to overturn the decision, having watched the incident on TV replays a number of times.
That said, if the FA reject the appeal and deem it to be frivolous, United run the serious risk of being without Smith for four matches and not three, the standard punishment for a straight red.
If that worst case scenario occurs, it would rule out Smith for just over a month until February 15 when United welcome Charlton Athletic.
The hearing is being heard today and United could receive news by the close of play today or if not, tomorrow morning.
McDermott, who was critical of the decision to send off Smith, on as a substitute for less than 60 seconds before receiving his marching orders for catching Owls defender Reda Johnson in the face with his left arm, said: “I didn’t think it was a booking quite frankly and the referee’s got to look at it. They have to rescind it and if they don’t, it’s not right.”
United return to action after their horrendous derby hammering at Hillsborough with a daunting assignment against Championship leaders Leicester City on Sunday, with the Foxes seven points clear at the top, having won their last five league fixtures.
In contrast, Leeds are without a win in six matches in all competitions, their worst run since last April when a key 2-1 victory over the Owls in McDermott’s first game in charge broke that alarming sequence.
McDermott is expected to make several changes in the wake of United’s embarrassing and wholly unacceptable weekend display, which he labelled as a public humiliation - and one man who is keen to propel him back into contention after a wholly disappointing opening half of the season is midfielder Paul Green.
The 30-year-old, recovered from a hamstring problem, is now back in training and desperate to return to the first-team fold, having been told by McDermott he is still in his plans despite being used sparingly this season.
Green, out of contract this summer, is also anxious to get back in the first-team fray to boost his international ambitions with Ireland, having produced a man-of-the-match display in the Republic’s 0-0 draw with Poland in Poznan in November.
Green, whose last Championship appearance was back on October 5 at his former club Derby County, said: “The second half of the season is an exciting time. Everyone is fighting for points, either for promotion or play-off positions or to avoid relegation, so it’s a good time to be playing in the games.
“The manager has told me I’m in his plans and I want to be playing so that Martin (O’Neill) and Roy (Keane) can have a look at me.
“I haven’t played in a while and it’s doing my head in, but I am back training and hopefully I’ll get a reserves game and then straightaway be back in contention.”