NEIL Warnock has hit out at the three-match ban imposed on defender Jason Pearce and bemoaned “one thing after another” affecting the squad at Leeds United.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash at Millwall, Warnock described as a “major blow” the decision by the Football Association to reject United’s appeal against the red card shown to Pearce during Saturday’s loss to Watford.
Centre-back Pearce will lose his ever-present record when he begins a three-game suspension on Sunday having seen his dismissal upheld by an FA regulatory commission on Tuesday afternoon.
Leeds challenged the red card shown to Pearce for a first-half tackle on Watford’s Matej Vydra after match referee Trevor Kettle punished the defender on the advice of his linesmen at Elland Road.
A frustrated Warnock said: “To me it sums up everything that’s wrong with officials in football.
“The referee was going to book him and I’ve no doubt at all that the tackle deserved a yellow card. But his linesmen have told him to send Jason off. The referee’s right on top of the tackle, they’re miles away but they make the decision.
“We had good grounds for appeal but I’m not surprised they (the FA) haven’t let him off. I’m not surprised at all. I can’t understand how a red card was given but they’ve backed the referee and his linesmen.
“It’s a major blow because Jason’s been excellent since coming here and we’ve got tough games coming up. I find it hard to accept.”
Confirmation of Pearce’s ban, depriving Warnock of a player who has featured in every competitive match since his 500,000 move from Portsmouth in May, compounded a frustrating week in which Rodolph Austin succumbed to a cracked ankle bone, Michael Brown incurred a one-game ban and a proposed deal to sign striker Cameron Jerome on loan from Stoke City fell through.
Leeds, who are without a win in six league games and lie 18th in the Championship, will arrive at Millwall in depleted fashion on Sunday and Warnock said: “It’s one thing after another at the moment. We’re not having much luck.
“But we’ve got to go to Millwall and stand up and be counted. Not many people will expect us to win there but you can always upset the odds in football.”