SUNDERLAND have formerly lodged a claim for unfair dismissal following Stephane Sessegnon’s red card at Aston Villa, the Football Association has confirmed.
The 28-year-old Benin international will have his case heard by an independent regulatory commission tomorrow afternoon.
Sessegnon was sent off by referee Lee Probert during last night’s 6-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Villa Park for a foul on Yacoub Sylla with 21 minutes remaining.
Should the red card stand, he will miss the Black Cats’ three remaining fixtures, against Stoke and Southampton at the Stadium of Light and the final day trip to Tottenham.
That would come as a huge blow to manager Paolo Di Canio with the rout at Villa plunging Sunderland deep into relegation trouble once again.
They currently sit in 15th place in the table and five points clear of the drop zone, above Paul Lambert’s resurgent side and derby rivals Newcastle on goal difference.
However, 18th-placed Wigan have a game in hand on all three as well as Norwich, who are a point better off, and each member of the quartet knows only too well how hard the Latics fight when it comes to the crunch.
Both Sessegnon and Di Canio will hope disciplinary chiefs look kindly upon their appeal, with the Italian signalling the club’s attention to ask them to look again at Probert’s decision within minutes of the final whistle, clearly believing he had witnessed a miscarriage of justice.
If the club are unsuccessful, the manager will face the task of negotiating a tense run-in without his first-choice strike-force, with Steven Fletcher recovering from ankle surgery.
January signing Danny Graham would be the only specialist senior striker in the squad, and he is yet to open his account in a red and white shirt.
Sessegnon’s dismissal could hardly have come at a worse time for Sunderland with the former Paris St Germain playmaker enjoying some of his best form of the season, having scored in a famous 3-0 derby win at Newcastle and then the winner against Everton six days later.