Dion out as appeal is turned down

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant is rewriting his plans after veteran Dion Dublin's appeal against a three-match ban was thrown out by the FA. Dublin was shown a straight red in the dying minutes of the 2-0 defeat at Charlton on Tuesday after an incident involving defender Danny Mills.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant is rewriting his plans after veteran Dion Dublin's appeal against a three-match ban was thrown out by the FA.

Dublin was shown a straight red in the dying minutes of the 2-0 defeat at Charlton on Tuesday after an incident involving defender Danny Mills.

Referee Jarnail Singh sent Dublin off for violent conduct, believing he intended to head-butt the controversial defender - a claim vehemently denied by manager Peter Grant.

The Canaries immediately launched an appeal, believing video evidence would clear Dublin, but the FA's disciplinary panel decided otherwise, although they decided not to increase the statutory three-game ban, which they are allowed to do if they consider the appeal to have been “frivolous”.

Dublin now misses tomorrow's Championship trip to Wolves, the Carling Cup third round tie at Manchester City on Tuesday and the home league game against bottom side Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday.

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Grant was unavailable for comment yesterday but even before the verdict was announced, he was angry it had even reached the stage of a hearing and said any decision that went against Dublin would be “a joke”.

Grant claimed yesterday that the referee had given two versions of his decision and claimed that the 30-minute “cooling off” period after games was a smokescreen.

“Dave Carolan (sports scientist) went and showed the ref film of the incident and he said it wasn't the first incident, it was a coming together after it, but in his report he said intending to headbutt, so it covers any angle,” said Grant. “And I think that he realises he has made a big, big mistake.

“He has made a big mistake and he has tried to cover every angle, saying, 'no, I never said that'. That's why I went on to the pitch after the game. There is this 30-minute thing with referees and linesmen and fourth officials getting together.

“They say it is to calm the manager down - it is an absolute waste of time, it's to get their story right, nothing else. On his report he has changed what he has said straight after the game.”

Dublin has now been sent off eight times since his big-money move from Cambridge United to Manchester United in 1992, including a much-publicised head-butt on Birmingham's Robbie Savage during the derby clash against Aston Villa in March, 2003.

The 38-year-old's presence is vital for City, particularly in defence, where Grant is short of over. However, Canaries skipper Jason Shackell has made a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury and, after missing two games last month, returned for the final minutes at Charlton as Dublin moved up front.