Sheridan receives five-match ban

Last updated : 11 January 2002 By Dave Moore
Athletic boss Mick Wadsworth sprung to Darren Sheridan’s defence after the midfielder was sent off for the second time this week. Sheridan was dismissed for a professional foul against Blackpool, adding to his previous record of
two red cards and eight bookings in 29 games for the club. He must serve a five-match ban and, by the time he returns in late February, will have
missed nine fixtures this season through suspension. Sheridan was sent off for fighting at Blackburn – after which he was handed a fine by Athletic – and went for two yellow cards at Cheltenham on Sunday.

Wadsworth said: “It’s unacceptable he has been sent off a couple of times and I’ve spoken to him about his record on more than one occasion. But it would be unfair to jump on him for what he did because the red card was questionable and harsh. He acted instinctively to stop the player getting through and I didn’t
think there was that much contact. You can say Darren should have left him alone because we would have had time to get the goal back, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s easy to sit in the stand and have an opinion, but it’s different when you are out on the pitch making decisions."

"I can’t criticise him too much on this occasion. And, having watched the video from Sunday, he was unlucky that time as well. We have a problem in general because referees don’t allow continuity and are stopping games for every physical challenge. We had a player booked recently for ‘excessive force in the tackle’. It’s becoming a non-contact sport – God help Tommy Smith if he was playing today.”

Sheridan’s ban starts on January 22 and he will miss games with Port Vale, Bournemouth, Notts County, Brighton and Bristol City. He received one match for two yellow cards on Sunday and one against Blackpool for “denying a goalscoring opportunity”. But there are extra punishments for anyone sent off more than once.

It was a dreadful night for Athletic as they lost 5-2 at home in the LDV Vans
Trophy and suffered another injury blow. Defender David Beharall has an ankle problem which was being assessed today, but he looks sure to miss the weekend trip to Chesterfield. Athletic’s collapse will lead to other team changes, with John Sheridan, Scott McNiven, Stuart Balmer and Paul Rachubka all vying for recalls. Striker David Reeves, who was cup-tied against Blackpool, definitely plays
against his old club.