Sunderland have lost their appeal against the red card shown to Didier Ndong last weekend.
Ndong was sent off during the 4-0 defeat to Cardiff City for a late challenge on Canadian forward Junior Hoilett.
An FA statement read: "Didier Ndong will miss Sunderland’s next three matches through suspension after an Independent Regulatory Commission dismissed claims of wrongful dismissal and excessive punishment that followed his red card for serious foul play against Cardiff City."
Chris Coleman admitted after the game that the referee 'had a decision to make' but felt the Gabon midfielder was ultimately unlucky.
He said: "The sending off, sometimes they’re given, sometimes they’re not. I think the referee did have a decision to make, then you’re on a wing and a prayer [after he does].
"You can look at it two ways, his studs are up onto the ball, then his foot hits it [the ball], and then he hits the Cardiff boy quite high. I’ve seen them given, seen them not given."
Ndong is likely to leave the club this month but Coleman insisted he had no regrets over the decision to pick him for the game and felt he had performed well before seeing red. With midfield options still desperately light, the 23-year-old would almost certainly have been involved in the crucial game against Hull City this weekend.
Coleman said: "We spoke with him yesterday [Friday], we know he is on his way eventually, but I said to players who want to leave, if they’re mentally with us and will put a shift in for the team we’ll use them.
"To be fair to him in the first half he covered a lot of ground, worked hard. He got sent off, maybe he is unlucky.
"I really can’t say Didier Ndong was the problem today. We gave the opposition a goal 45 seconds into the half, make no mistake that is where it came from today. Then it’s ‘here we go again’."
Lee Cattermole will be fit for the game but is well short of match fitness, while stand-in holding midfielder Marc Wilson has been struggling with injury.
Jonny Williams has returned to training but is not match fit, while Paddy McNair has also struggled for fitness of late.
With transfer talks continuing, Ndong may well have played his last game for the Black Cats.
Sunderland rejected a loan offer from Watford last week that would have become permanent in the summer had he played in 75% of their games.
Coleman insisted that he would only leave on a deal that suited the club.
He said: "What do we get out of (a player leaving on loan)?
"If it's a loan deal and he has to play 75% of games for a fee to be involved, he will probably only play 73%.
"They must think we have fallen off the back of a lorry.
"We have had a couple of enquiries about Didier but just loan deals and that's not something that's for us unless there's an absolute guarantee at the end of it.
"It's common knowledge Didier wants to leave. He sees his future elsewhere but we have got to do what's right for us."
Should Watford return with a better offer for Ndong, his suspension would have to be served. That would mean him being unavailable until the Hornets visit Chelsea on February 5th. If he remains at Sunderland past the conclusion of the January window he will be available again for the trip to Bristol City on February 10th.
Ligue 1 side Toulouse have also been credited with an interest in recent days, though it remains to be seen whether they have the financial capacity to offer a deal that suits the Black Cats.
They did seal an audacious loan swoop for Stoke City's record signing, Giannelli Imbula, in the summer.