Suspension 'almost inevitable' for Hartlepool United player

Hartlepool United have one player at serious risk of suspension in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:30 pm

Defender Neill Byrne has picked up four yellow cards in his opening nine League Two matches for Pools. A fifth yellow card before Pools host Rochdale on December 7 would see the 28-year-old suspended for one match.

It's a tall order for a physical defender to avoid a booking in each of the next 10 league matches before the 19 game cut off point. After that the threshold is then raised to 10 cautions after 37 league matches and a two match ban.

And Hartlepool manager Dave Challinor is expecting the Irish centre-back to be suspended at some point over the next two months.

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Neill Byrne of Hartlepool United in action with Carlisle United's Jack Armer during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Hartlepool United and Carlisle United at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 28th August 2021. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

“We’ll have to accept it when it comes,” he told The Mail.

“We’re in a position where the reality is the cut off is 19 games so we’re not going to be able to protect Byrner not getting booked for the next 10 games.

“If we are then brilliant but we’re realistically looking at it thinking it’s almost inevitable at some point he is going to have to serve a suspension over the next two months.

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"What we’ve got to do, when you look at Lidds’ [Gary Liddle’s] scenario from a selfish standpoint, we need to have players who can potentially step in if Byrner is out.

"It’s part and parcel of being a defender. Some of his bookings have been cheap to be honest but it’s something we anticipate will happen.

"What we don’t want is to have two or three players suspended at the same time because that will become a problem.”

With Byrne’s defensive partner Gary Liddle currently out injured, a fifth yellow card at Stevenage this weekend wouldn’t be ideal as he’d then miss the following Saturday’s match at home to Northampton Town.

Liddle is also at risk of suspension himself having been yellow carded three times already this season. Right wing-back Jamie Sterry has also been cautioned three times in the opening nine matches of the League Two campaign.

Both players will have to avoid picking up a further two bookings over the next three games in order to avoid a one match ban.

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