BURTON Albion captain Zander Diamond will serve a four-match ban after a lack of video evidence to help appeal his red card at AFC Wimbledon.
The 27-year-old was hoping TV replays would clear him of headbutting Pim Balkestein — but no conclusive footage of the off-the-ball incident in the 1-1 draw could be found.
“Zander’s obviously gutted,” said Brewers boss Gary Rowett. “It was totally out of character and he feels he’s let everybody down.
“He’s been manhandled in the box and in frustration he’s tried to push his whole body against Balkestein.
“It certainly wasn’t a proper headbutt.
“The footage was very poor and inconclusive.”
Diamond — a rock on which Albion’s League Two promotion push has been built — will now miss Saturday’s key home clash with Rotherham United, as well as the trip to Fleetwood Town and home games against Exeter City and Morecambe.
He gets an extra game on the usual three-match ban due to it being his second sending-off of the season.
His absense leaves a big hole for the visit of Rotherham.
Ian Sharps is unable to face the Millers under the terms of his loan at the Pirelli Stadium, while Nathan Stanton is battling to overcome a knee injury.
Rowett has not ruled out an emergency loan to cover his squad, but left-back Damien McCrory is expected to return from an ankle problem this week, which would allow Aaron Webster to move across to centre-half should he be needed.
“The wider issue is do you go out and get someone on loan for one game and then have them for a month,” said Rowett. “This’ll be a really good test of the squad.”
Anthony O’Connor has bounced back from a big knock he took on his ankle to link up with the Ireland under-21 squad, but Alex MacDonald has returned to Burnley to have his dead leg assessed.
“Alex has been a little bit unlucky,” said Rowett. “He started really well for 20-25 minutes on the right and you see why you brought him in.
“We’re pretty sure he’ll miss the weekend — it’s probably the worst dead leg we’ve seen. It swelled up ridiculously after the game.
“It was a little bit self-inflicted really, but that’s just his enthusiasm to do well.
“Anthony’s a tough character and has managed to go away with the under-21s.
“I’ve asked him to be sensible while he’s away — he’s a possible option at centre-half for us as well.”