Walsall were today set to launch an appeal against Andy Butler’s sending-off at Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The Saddlers skipper is facing an immediate three-game ban after being shown a straight red card by referee Graham Scott after just 17 minutes following a challenge on Romain Vincelot.
But after watching video of the incident, manager Dean Smith believes the decision was wrong and has vowed to appeal, revealing Butler was “bemused” at the red card.
“I don’t even think it was a free-kick. I think it was a great tackle and we will be appealing it,” said Smith.
“Andy was bemused. He said he just went and won the tackle. He got there first, their lad got there after Andy had made contact with the ball.
“The referee said he was out of control, but I don’t know how he can be out of control when he has won the ball with his feet on the ground.
“I don’t know what the referee has seen. I suppose it doesn’t help when it’s in front of the dugouts and arms go up.
“I like Graham as a referee, but I think he’s got one wrong there.”
As things stand, Butler would miss the home games with Bradford City and Stevenage and a trip to Colchester in between.
The Saddlers also have concerns over James Chambers, who moved to centre-back following Butler’s dismissal but left the game late on with a calf injury.
Despite losing their skipper, a superb performance saw the Saddlers earn a 1-1 draw at Brisbane Road and become the first team to take points off Orient this season.
Smith took great pride in the performance and believes it was a testament to the spirit of the players.
“I don’t want people to think it was backs to the wall, battling with 10 men because it wasn’t,” he said.
“I’ve said from the start of the season it’s a really tough league and we’ve had three games against unbeaten teams.”
One player who didn’t feature on Saturday was veteran winger Julian Gray, who signed a deal to January on Friday.
He wasn’t cleared to play until after the Saddlers had travelled south, so was not included in the squad.
“He had a lot of ability, a lot of quality and he will bring a lot of experience with him as well,” said Smith.
“He’ll be a welcome addition. He is what we are about.”