Ferry: We’ve seen enough red

Yassin Moutaouakil gets his marching orders at Burton Picture: Joe Pepler
Yassin Moutaouakil gets his marching orders at Burton Picture: Joe Pepler
Tyler Smith

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Simon Ferry has shrugged off suggestions Pompey are the bad boys of League Two.

The Blues picked up their third red card in just seven games this season when, on Saturday, Yassin Moutaouakil was given his marching orders for his ridiculous kick out at Burton midfielder Jimmy Phillips.

Striker David Connolly was dismissed and given an automatic three-match ban for his aggressive off-the-ball barge in the back on Sam Hird during the defeat to Chesterfield at Fratton Park.

He should return to the Blues squad for Saturday’s home showdown with Fleetwood Town.

Meanwhile, skipper Johnny Ertl was the first to see red during the season-opening 4-1 defeat to Oxford for a flailing arm in an aerial challenge – perhaps the most contentious of the three that Pompey have picked up this term.

Neither Connolly or Moutaouakil could have any complaints with their punishments, with both misdemeanours in the petulant category rather than being especially violent.

But Ferry insists there is no trend developing.

Instead, he believes the incidents were isolated moments that only the individuals can explain.

The Blues midfielder said: ‘It’s not like we are an angry group of players here.

‘You can say as much as you like about discipline but you can never tell how someone is going to react in an individual incident.

‘But I don’t think it should happen.

‘People shouldn’t be getting sent off and it’s not fair on the other boys that are on the pitch.

‘I didn’t see the incident involving Yassin because I wasn’t near it.

‘But everyone is different and you can never tell people how to react in the heat of the moment.

‘So it’s up to them. But it would certainly help if we can keep 11 men on the pitch in games.’

Few would suggest Pompey are an overly-aggressive side.

They certainly don’t come close to Alan Ball’s team in the mid-1980s which included Mick Kennedy, Noel Blake and Billy Gilbert.

They were often in disciplinary trouble with referees.

But the Blues have now picked up a staggering total of 17 red cards since they suffered relegation from the Premier League in the 2009-2010 season.

For their first season back in the Championship in 2010-11, a tally of seven red cards and 81 yellow cards is their highest of recent times – compared with 79 yellows and four reds (2011-12) and last season’s total of 63 yellow cards and three red cards.

The fact they have matched their red-card total for last season in just seven 2013-14 fixtures will be a concern to Guy Whittingham, who has had to contend with too many suspensions.

While Moutaouakil is expected to face a club fine, Ferry chose not to discuss the incident with his team-mate in the immediate aftermath.

Ferry said: ‘We just left him. After the match he probably didn’t want to speak about it straight away. I’m sure he knew himself what he’d done.

‘But, hopefully, we have learnt a few lessons. It’s never easy playing with 10 men and we’ve had to do it too many times already this season.’