I owe everyone - Fabian

A CONTRITE Fabian Wilnis last night vowed never to be sent off again and to repay the huge favour he owes his Blues team-mates – especially Shefki Kuqi.

A CONTRITE Fabian Wilnis last night vowed never to be sent off again and to repay the huge favour he owes his Blues team-mates – especially Shefki Kuqi.

The Dutch defender was sent off after 26 minutes for a late challenge on Plymouth's Keith Lasley with the Blues trailing 2-1 and will miss the next three games, starting with tomorrow's top-of-the-table clash at home to Reading.

It was the first time since arriving in England seven years ago, and only the second time in his 15-year career that he has seen red.

Wilnis said: "I will be buying Shefki a drink. I really owe him and the rest of the lads.

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"I let the fans down, my team-mates, the manager and myself down.

"We were 2-1 behind, down to 10 men with 65 minutes to go, so as I left the pitch I was very disappointed with getting the red card.

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"But the team managed to get the three points. Such is the spirit within the squad that I still had belief in them although it was very difficult.

"When Shefki equalised I knew we could go on and win."

Although he had been booked 10 minutes earlier for disputing a decision, Wilnis was shown a straight red card for serious foul play for the tackle, which carries an automatic three- match ban.

He will miss tomorrow's game at home to league leaders Reading, and then next Sunday's live televised clash at Coventry City and the home game against John McGreal's Burnley on October 16.

Wilnis said: "In one way it is better that the ban comes into immediate effect rather than having to wait two weeks."

The 31-year-old had no quibbles about being dismissed, although he didn't think it was a straight red, nor does he feel he should be fined by the club.

He said: "I did catch the lad but it was not deliberate. I was fully committed to making the tackle and thought I would win the ball.

"We were trailing and I was looking to make a big tackle to get the crowd going and fire the lads up, unfortunately it didn't work that way.

"As soon as I made the tackle I knew I would get a yellow but I was very surprised when he showed me a red without a yellow.

"It was my first sending-off in England and I'm going to make sure it is my last."

The club could fine him a maximum of two weeks' wages but that is unlikely given the nature of the offence.

Wilnis said: "There is no way a player should be fined just for trying to make a tackle. If that were to happen people would be worried about going for balls and I can't imagine that happening."

The full-back was less happy with the yellow card when he was accused of diving, and was then booked for arguing the point with the referee's assistant.

He said: "I had been tripped and while I can understand the referee's difficulty in seeing it properly the linesman was just a few yards away and should have seen it clearly.

"I never swore at him at all, I was just making a point but it seems you are not even allowed to talk to them these days."

Matt Richards will take Wilnis's place against Reading tomorrow and Shefki Kuqi is likely to start ahead of Pablo Counago, with Ian Westlake restored to the midfield.

Match report and quotes – Pages 2-7

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