Middlesbrough appeal Daniel Ayala's 'wrongful dismissal' against Preston North End
Middlesbrough have appealed Daniel Ayala's red card in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat against Preston North End.
With Tony Pulis' side leading 1-0 courtesy of an early Ashley Fletcher goal, proceedings took a sudden turn when Ayala was dismissed in the 62nd minute.
It followed via a last-ditch challenge on Brandon Barker as referee Keith Stroud deemed it was out of control despite winning the ball.
From the resulting free-kick, Paul Gallagher directed the ball past keeper Darren Randolph with Jayden Stockley completing the second-half turnaround.
The appeal will be lodged before the 1pm deadline on Friday, and the Disciplinary Panel will review it before Boro's visit to Aston Villa on Saturday.
In a statement by the club, it stated it was a "wrongful dismissal" after Pulis expressed his discontent in his post-match press conference.
He questioned Stroud's positioning in the build-up to the foul, believing he "gambled" on the decision.
“I've watched it now from four different angles,” Pulis said. “The referee is a long, long way from the challenge."
“Not only that, he's got players in between him and it looks from our view that he can't see the challenge. I've just said to him, to make a decision like that you have to be 100 per cent sure.
“You can't be 50 or 60 per cent sure otherwise you're gambling. I think he gambles and makes a very poor choice and it affected the game.
“Dani is disappointed because he slides in, he definitely sides in, but he takes the ball with one foot, not two feet.
“People will say it's aggressive but it's a game of challenges, football. It's a poor, poor decision.”
Should Ayala's appeal be unsuccessful, the 28-year-old will sit out of Boro's next four matches - a crucial period in the battle for the playoffs.
After back-to-back home defeats to Brentford and Preston, Pulis' men hold just a three-point lead over those just outside the top six.
A trip to Villa Park followed by a Riverside double-header versus top-of-the-table Norwich City and 7th place Bristol City could ultimately define how Boro's season pans out.