Sammon off the hook?

WIGAN Athletic will today ask the FA to use their powers to rescind Conor Sammon’s red card at Manchester United on Boxing Day – and free up the striker to face Stoke on New Year’s Eve.

Roberto Martinez has spent the last 24 hours mulling over the situation along with the club’s management.

And the feeling of injustice has not gone away following the flashpoint that ended any hope Latics had of a first-ever point against United.

Referee Phil Dowd has come in for widespread condemnation following his decision to dismiss Sammon for an innocuous coming-together with Michael Carrick on the halfway line.

And Sammon’s team-mates have urged the club to lobby the powers-that-be for the dismissal to be overturned.

“I haven’t spoken to the gaffer about a possible appeal but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did,” said James McCarthy.

“I wasn’t too far away from it at all and I didn’t think it was a sending-off.

“And I know Conor will definitely be keen to go down that route, because he was so down in the dressing room afterwards.”

With Sammon set to miss the crucial visit of Sunderland on January 3 and the FA Cup third-round trip to Swindon as well as the trip to the Britannia, the Latics hierarchy have come to the conclusion that their case if valid, and face an anxious wait before learning whether the appeal has been successful.

Carrick himself told the Match of the Day cameras after the game that he thought the sending-off was unjust, while United boss Sir Alex Ferguson branded the decision ‘harsh’.

“I thought it was a softish one in that I don’t think the boy acted intentionally,” Ferguson said.

“He’s a big aggressive lad, and I think he has thrown his arm.

“But it was a bit harsh, I have to say that.”

Pundit Paul Merson, who was covering the game for Sky, reckoned the decision was ‘never a red card’ and ‘killed the game’.

Latics have been encouraged by a couple of high-profile precedents in recent weeks, where red cards issued to Everton’s Jack Rodwell and Bolton’s Gary Cahill by referees Martin Atkinson and Stuart Attwell respectively were adjudged to be unjust and overturned on appeal.

Assuming Sammon is let off the hook, he will be free to take his place in what is expected to be an unchanged Latics side for the year-ending Stoke clash.

Martinez has reported no fresh injury worries from the festive period, although he may elect to shuffle his pack to freshen things up with the games coming thick and fast.