Wigan Athletic are ready to appeal Chey Dunkley’s red card against Portsmouth - and looming suspension.
The big centre-back was sent off just after the hour mark during the 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium for apparently lashing out at Pompey’s Brett Pitman.
Pompey used their numerical advantage to force a late equaliser and wreck Wigan’s 100 per cent start to the season.
But Latics manager Paul Cook believes Pitman’s exaggerated reaction forced the referee into the wrong call.
“Listen, at the end of the day, you’re looking at the sending-off, and you have to look at the reaction of their lad, Pitman,” Cook told the Wigan Post.
“You have to ask yourself whether that’s how a fellow professional should be acting when he hadn’t been hit.
“That’s the disappointing thing, and I think we are going to be appealing it.
“We’ve looked back at it, and there are trailing arms and different stuff.
“You see Pitman rolling around on the floor, holding his face, and the referee suddenly has a decision to make.
“That’s not what happened, so we’ll see where it goes with that one.”
Dunkley said sorry to the Wigan fans after the game for his role in Latics dropping two points.
“Apologies to the fans and boys,” he tweeted. “The lad has been clever and I’ll learn from it.”
Latics captain Sam Morsy chipped in by claiming Pitman had “conned the ref with the oldest trick in the book”.
And Cook believes the whole incident will act as a ‘learning curve’ for the new arrival from Oxford.
“Chey knows he shouldn’t have been involved in the incident, which is all part of his learning curve,” Cook added.
“But the reaction of their player was a massive disappointment.
“It is, come on, it is.
“The Premier League and stuff are looking at incidents like this now, and we can’t be giving referees decisions like this to make and then criticising referees.
“At the time, I thought it was a red, because I’ve seen Pitman react the same way as everybody else did.
“But on reflection I’m looking at the DVD, and it doesn’t really hold up to that.
“People will say it’s professionalism from their lad, and I’m certainly not trying to get at Pitman.
“He’s a very experienced player, he’s a very good player.
“But the disappointing thing is, from the referee’s angle, and the reaction of the player and Chey’s arm movement, it does look like Chey’s punched him.
“Clearly that wasn’t the case.
“Pitman has helped the referee to make a decision by his reaction to something that never happened. That disappoints me.”
Dunkley was unlikely to have been involved in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at Blackpool.
But he would also miss the important League One games at Shrewsbury and Charlton should his mandatory three-match ban be enforced.