CRAIG Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon have been fined for their red cards.
Gardner was sent off in Monday’s game against Stoke City for a nasty challenge on Charlie Adam while Sessegnon was giving his marching orders in the previous game, when he raised his studs in a tackle on Aston Villa’s Yacouba Sylla.
The fouls deprived Sunderland of the services of both players for the remainder of the season, with the red cards carrying automatic suspensions which ruled them out of the last few games of the 2012/13 campaign.
But the dismissals have been costly in other ways too, with both players being hit in the pocket for letting themselves and their team-mates down.
Head coach Paolo di Canio confirmed that both players had been fined and that that would have been the case, even if he had had sympathy for their sendings off.
He told the Echo: “When a player has been sent off and he is clearly responsible for that, then he must be fined.
“That is life, I’m afraid.
“And that is how it will be under me at this club. We must have rules.
“If you let yourself down when there is a job to do then there must be consequences from that and players need to understand that, even if they are situations where you might have sympathy with them.
“You need to set rules so that it is clear what is right and what is wrong and fines are always a part of that.”
Di Canio knows that the biggest punishment for both players will be that they are forced to sit in the stands when they are desperate to help on the pitch.
But the coach says the players need to look at themselves and ensure that they are not spending unnecessary time serving bans.
“If you look at Craig for example,” he said. “Craig was very sorry, he said a thousand times sorry, but I prefer it if he didn’t have to say sorry in the first place.
“He had just come back from a two-game suspension and now he gets another. He’s a fantastic professional but he needs to avoid these situations.”
Thoughts of his banned players though will be furthest from Di Canio’s mind tomorrow.
“This is why I don’t like to talk about players who aren’t available,” he said.
“Every week my focus is all about the game coming up and getting the maximum out of it.
“Stephane and Craig won’t be involved in this game and that will make it more difficult for us but we will come up with a strategy and a team which I believe will give us a good chance to win this game.
“We have home advantage and our fans behind us and the bond we have among the remaining players is enough for us to win this game.”