Stoke City: Steven Nzonzi to have red card reviewed
STOKE City boss Tony Pulis is hoping justice and common sense eventually prevails to prevent Steven Nzonzi having to serve a three-match ban.
Nzonzi was left standing trial after being dismissed by referee Mark Clattenburg for an alleged stamp on Jack Cork in the 71st minute of Saturday's thrilling 3-3 draw with Southampton.
• GALLERY: Match Action: Stoke City 3 Southampton 3
Clattenburg agreed to review the incident on video and, if he decides it was not a red card after all, Nzonzi will be immediately exonerated.
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If Clattenburg upholds his original decision, however, Stoke will then launch an appeal to the FA through the usual channels.
But because any appeal will not be heard immediately during the holiday period, Nzonzi is free to play at Manchester City tomorrow whatever happens.
Subsequent replays of the incident showed Nzonzi made no contact with Cork via his alleged stamp, but he did inadvertently catch the Southampton midfielder with his trailing leg.
Pulis who was quick to protest his midfielder's innocence, said: "I've spoken to Mark about it. I've seen it myself and he certainly doesn't stamp on the player – and that's why I thought he sent him off. He's actually stepped over and placed his foot between his (Cork's) legs. He hasn't touched him."
Pulis was unhappy with Cork, meanwhile, after accusing him of over-reacting to Nzonzi's challenge in what many will regard as an attempt to influence the referee.
"He's a good player and people tell me he's a good lad," said Pulis, "but I was disappointed with the reaction of the player. That doesn't help referees. I'm a great advocate for players getting up and getting on with things."
Pulis was far happier with the reaction of his players after a woeful first-half display had left them 3-1 down and staring at a home defeat in the league for the first time in 11 months.
"We were awful first half," he conceded. "I think players were still tapping themselves on the back for their performance against Liverpool.
"But we rolled our sleeves up second half and threw everything at them. Even with 10 men I thought we looked the likelier to score."
Salvation came when Cameron Jerome hammered home a brilliant 90th-minute equaliser – the fourth time he has stepped off the bench and saved or won a game in his 18 months as a Stoke player.
"Cameron's equaliser is fabulous, it's a fantastic strike," Pulis purred. "He's a top player when he comes in and there's lots of space around.
"Sometimes when you start with him and games are tight and compact he gets lost with bodies around him. But once the game opens up, he has the energy and the pace to influence games and he's scored in so many games for us off the bench."
He revealed that Andy Wilkinson came off worse than Robert Huth after a second-half clash of heads that later left them requiring a dozen stitches between them for head wounds. "Andy was more concussed than Rob," he said. "He felt he couldn't see out of his left eye for 10 minutes, but after we brought him off he said: 'No, it's back now'."
Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron return from suspension for the Manchester City trip tomorrow, but Pulis said he was pondering even more changes to freshen up his starting 11.
Meanwhile, Pulis said Shawcross was finally on the verge of signing his new six-year contract.