Barnsley FC reeling after Liam Kitching suspension blow

BARNSLEY defender Liam Kitching will miss the majority of the Reds' forthcoming September programme in the Championship after receiving a three-match ban from the Football Association.

Barnsley defender Liam Kitching, pictured during his time at Harrogate Town.

The one-time Leeds United and Harrogate Town player was involved in an altercation with Birmingham City substitute Chuks Aneke late on in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Oakwell and the FA - upon inspection of video evidence - have deemed the incident worthy of a violent conduct charge and a three-match ban.

Kitching will miss the trip to Bournemouth on Saturday, September 11, the game at Stoke on Wednesday, September 15 and the home appointment with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, September 18.

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He will be available again for the match at Blackpool on Saturday, September 25.

An FA statement read: "Liam Kitching will be unavailable for Barnsley FCs next three fixtures following behaviour during the 77th minute of their EFL Championship game against Birmingham City FC on Saturday (28/08/21) that constitutes violent conduct.

"The defender's behaviour was not seen by match officials at the time but it was caught on camera and he was subsequently charged by The FA with a breach of FA Rule E1.1 Liam Kitching admitted the charge but also submitted a claim that the automatic penalty was 'clearly excessive.'

"His claim was dismissed and the standard three-match suspension imposed by an Independent Regulatory Commission during a hearing."

On his Twitter account, Kitching posted: "Gutted. Feel like I’ve let the team and the Gaffer down.

"However, I’ll learn from it and I’ll be backing the lads from the stands the next three games."

The ban comes as an untimely blow for Kitching, who had impressed during a hitherto sound start to the campaign.

Kitching moved to Barnsley for a six-figure fee from Forest Green at the start of January, penning a four-year deal.

But a troublesome groin injury ensured that his debut for the Reds was put on hold while he worked hard on his rehabilitation.

The Harrogate-born player made his bow as a late substitute in the second leg of the club's Championship play-off tie at Swansea in late May before making his full debut on the opening day of the 2021-22 campaign at Cardiff City.

Prior to his suspension, the 21-year-old had been a league ever-present so far this term.