Fleetwood Town boss Steven Pressley branded Bobby Grant’s behaviour “unacceptable” after he was sent off within seconds of coming off the bench in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away to League One leaders Burton.
Grant was introduced three minutes after Mark Duffy’s second goal had put the Brewers back in front, but almost immediately the substitute appeared to lash out at Lucas Akins and referee Oliver Langford had no option but to show a straight red for violent conduct.
Grant will miss the next three games, starting with tomorrow’s home clash with Walsall, and manager Pressley was also highly disappointed with his side’s performance on the whole.
Pressley said: “Bobby knows that it is just not acceptable. I made the change because I felt we needed width in the game and that we needed to nullify their full-backs. I put Bobby on but almost immediately he was sent off. We can’t accept that.
“I’m really disappointed with his conduct. There were several things said within the dressing room that will remain within the dressing room, but Bobby knows that type of behaviour is unacceptable.
“It is a lesson for him. He will be out for several games and that is a disappointment because we need all our players at this moment.”
Pressley was frustrated with his side’s performance and lack of aggression, saying it was the first time since he took the reins in October that Town deserved to lose.
He said: “The main disappointment for me was the performance because it was not a Fleetwood kind of performance.
“I don’t think we stood up to the game. We didn’t do the basics well enough and because of that we suffered. We were not good enough.
“I said to the group that in the four or so months I’ve been here I don’t think there had been a game we hadn’t deserved something from. This was the first time I can honestly say we didn’t deserve anything.
“I thought they started more aggressively than us. Overall it was the right result.
“It was the first time we dropped below our levels. We didn’t play with the same intensity. We weren’t aggressive in our play. We didn’t pressurise the ball in the way we can.
“We were outfought on 50-50 moments.
“All the things that have become a highlight of our performances were lacking. I was really disappointed and as a team we are really disappointed.”
Striker Wes Burns came off the bench at half-time and made a far more positive impact than Grant, equalising within two minutes.
The Welshman latched on to Amari’i Bell’s fierce cross and thundered the ball home.
Pressley praised Burns’ performance, saying: “I thought that Wes was the shining light from the game.
“I said to the group that I thought Wes brought an energy and an aggression that we were lacking. I thought he did really well.
“It was a great finish and it is his third goal in four games, which is a fantastic return.
“It was the first time Bell had been really aggressive and really positive in his play too. All over the pitch we didn’t show that aggression with or without the ball.”
Fortunately for 19th-placed Town, every team below them lost bar rock bottom Colchester, meaning their five-point cushion above the drop zone remains.
But Pressley wants to see a response at Highbury tomorrow. He said: “Probably the only thing I suppose we can take from the game is that other results went in our favour, but we can’t rely on other results.
“It is about us taking care of our own performances, and winning these games. Even though Burton are top of the table, I expect us to come here and win.
“We fell below the standards and are looking for a real response against Walsall.”