Mansfield Town will be without midfield ace Jacob Mellis for three games after electing to not appeal against his red card in Saturday’s thrilling 2-2 opener at Newport County.
Mellis was dismissed for landing with his knees into the back of the fallen Joss Labadie and boss John Dempster said: “It was a difficult one to decide.
“But, after consulting with the officials after the game on Saturday, and having spoken to some officials externally from the incident, we are not going to be appealing.
“Initially the referee said that Jacob had stamped on the Newport player which I knew wasn’t the case, having watched it in live play.
“But after speaking to the officials, they made it clear that they thought that Jacob had put his knees into the Newport player’s back.”
Dempster felt the red card was a soft one and influenced by the reaction of Labadie and his team mates, but said he has enough quality in the squad to get over this first ‘bump in the road’.
“Joss Labadie played really well on Saturday, but the reaction from him and Newport players probably made the officials think it was worse than it was,” said Dempster.
“But I don’t want to go too much into that.
“Looking at the video, it is soft. But Jacob’s knees did go into his back and I don’t think our appeal would be successful.
“We do have games coming thick and fast, so Jacob will be back sooner than later.
“It’s just another bump in the road for us. It’s important we move on quickly from it.”
Dempster said he expected strong competition for the vacant shirt this week.
“We’ve got a strong squad,” he said. “We have strength in depth and it’s up to those players to step up now, come in and do the business.
“You look at the players who did come off the bench on Saturday and they were raring to go and made a really positive impact – that’s what we’re looking for.
“Who comes in will be down to current form, form in training, and opposition.
“These are all factors we will take into consideration when picking the 11 and the squad for Saturday’s game against Morecambe, which we know is going to be a really tough one.”