Barnsley FC striker Daryl Dike gets a raw deal from referees - Valerien Ismael

BARNSLEY head coach Valerien Ismael has supported suggestions that striker Daryl Dike is getting a rough ride from officials - and believes that they should provide him with more protection.

The powerhouse forward’s physicality and work-rate of the powerhouse forward - who was famously rated on FIFA 21 as the second strongest player in the world - has provided the Reds with another string to their bow since his arrival on loan from MLS outfit Orlando City.

The 20-year-old has also fallen foul of referees, having conceded 13 free-kicks and won one in his time at the club so far and Ismael insists the discrepancy is unfair and the American frontman is more sinned against them sinner.

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Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game at QPR, Ismael - who reports no fresh injury issues - commented: “At the start in the first game he came in, in the Championship, after three minutes, it was a clear penalty for us.

Daryl Dike. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.

“The challenge on Dee-Kay are very hard and the defenders do not care about any worries and go for free without any report (booking) and we have to protect the player.

“I know Dee-Kay looks very strong, but when it is a foul, it is a foul. Whether it is minute one or minute ninety. He is so wide and strong, but you cannot say it is not a problem for him. There have been some really, really bad fouls on him and we have to be aware and that is my concerns.

“That quality on the ball of Dee-Kay is something special and a lot of fouls are very special and we must take care to protect the player and it is the job of the referee to protect the player generally and not just Dee-Kay. We need to be aware about that.

“Dee-Kay can win a lot of duels and it is why it is difficult for a defender when you play against such a striker - who can win a lot of aerial duels and win the ball. He can give defenders some frustration and it try to do something unusual or illegal and that is why we have to protect the player all the time.

“We (should) try to start fair.”