Magilton rues failed Counago appeal

IPSWICH Town have lost their appeal against star striker Pablo Counago's red card, although the Football Association are unlikely to pursue the spitting allegations aimed against the Spaniard.

Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town have lost their appeal against star striker Pablo Counago's red card, although the Football Association are unlikely to pursue the spitting allegations aimed against the Spaniard.

Counago will therefore serve a three-match ban, beginning with this Saturday's home match against QPR, followed by the East Anglian derby at Colchester United and the midweek home game against Cardiff City on April 9.

Town boss Jim Magilton said: “We felt that we had good grounds for an appeal, so we lodged the appeal. We are disappointed with the result, but we accept that and will move on.

“It was not deemed to be a frivolous appeal, so there will be no extra one-game suspension.”

Counago was sent off, together with Scunthorpe's Jack Cork, after an off-the-ball incident during Town's 2-1 win at Glanford Park. Town's striker was elbowed in the face by Andy Butler, and was then sent off for alleged retaliation. He was also accused of spitting at Butler, while Cork was dismissed for his part in the fracas.

Most Read

Magilton would have dealt severely with Counago through internal channels, if video evidence had suggested that his 28-year-old striker had spat at Butler.

But as Counago said earlier this week, he was merely spitting out blood rather than spitting at any specific player.

“He cut my mouth and I had blood in my mouth. I did spit out the blood, but not in his face. He is three or four yards away from me. It could not have happened,” confirmed Counago.

If the FA had chosen to pursue the spitting allegation, and he had been found guilty, then Counago would have been hit by a six-match suspension which would have sidelined him until the final weekend of the regular season.

However, the news that the original red card will not be rescinded would well hinder Town's bid to reach the play-offs. They are currently sitting in seventh spot, level on points with sixth-placed Plymouth but with a game in hand.

Shefki Kuqi faces a race against time to be fit for this Saturday's game against QPR, as he battles to recover from a tweaked hamstring, so Magilton is short of attacking options.

Town's boss was in Belfast last night to watch David Healy in action for Northern Ireland against Georgia. He is hoping to sign the experienced front-runner on loan from Fulham before tonight's transfer deadline.