Millwall boss gives his verdict on red card that rules Ryan Woods out of Den return

Gary Rowett reckons Ryan Woods is really unlucky to miss out on a Den return tomorrow afternoon.

The former Millwall loanee, who made a permanent move from Stoke to Birmingham City in the summer, was shown a straight red card for bringing down Coventry’s Ian Maatsen on November 23.

Woods, who played 64 matches in two temporary spells with the Lions,  was not the last man when he tripped Maatsen.

Birmingham had an appeal rejected and the 27-year-old midfielder will serve the second of a three-game suspension at the weekend.

There were shades of Jed Wallace’s dismissal in 2017. The Lions winger made a tactical foul on Burton’s Tom Flanagan, provoking severe punishment from official Tony Harrington. Millwall also failed to get the decision overturned.

Lions manager Rowett, who brought Woods to SE16, said: “For me it’s a yellow card, and a yellow card at most.

“When a player does that [stops a dangerous counter-attack] we all, as managers, expect the player to do it for the team. But you can also look at those challenges and they look a free-hit. Do they look any different to a bad challenge in the middle of the pitch? I’d say all 92 managers would say that is a yellow card and nothing else.

“The appeals process is not always what managers want it to be. It’s not always about whether it is a yellow card or a red card. It’s about whether the referee deemed that one different to the appeals committee, and obviously they didn’t.

“If that was my player I’d expect to feel really hard done by that the player then misses three games.”

The Blues have won four of their last seven matches, form which has climbed them away from the Championship drop zone after a seven-match winless spell.

Asked about his former club, Rowett said: “They’ve been a bit like the Championship in general. They’ve had a really, really good spell for four or five games and then a not so good spell for four or five games. They look like they have bounced back out of that.

“They have got a good squad. They got a real key injury to [Tahith] Chong from Manchester United, he has been a big loss to them because he just seems that extra creative spark that any team in this division needs.

“They’ve been similar to ourselves. When they are at their best they can win games and when they don’t do the right things they don’t. A bit like a lot of other teams at this level. They are fighting for that consistency.

“They play a five [at the back], they are a threat at set-pieces and they’ve brought in Troy Deeney to try and be the difference in their squad and frontline.”

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