PAOLO DI CANIO believes Sunderland have a chance of overturning Stephane Sessegnon’s red card, with the Benin international facing a ban for the remainder of the campaign.
Sessegnon became the first Sunderland player to be dismissed in the Premier League this season after capping last night’s abysmal 6-1 rout at Aston Villa with a straight red for a high challenge on Yacouba Sylla.
The 28-year-old is due to receive a subsequent three-game suspension, which would rule Sunderland’s reigning Player of the Year out of the relegation run-in.
But head coach Di Canio says he wouldn’t sanction an appeal - which runs the risk of the being extended by a game - if he didn’t think Sunderland had a chance of succeeding.
“If he did something really silly, I’m not going to appeal because you run the risk that they could extend it by another game,” said Di Canio.
“So for sure we are going to appeal.
“We want to try because it’s clear he didn’t go out to do damage.
“The referee thought it was frustration from Stephane, but it wasn’t.
“He didn’t have the leg straight or go to hurt the opponent’s body. It wasn’t intentional.
“It’s not fair that he can remain out for the rest of the season.
“I understand that the referee fell into the trap because it’s obvious the dynamics of the incident can put it into his thinking.
“But I hope they see there was no intention to damage his opponent.”
The FA’s disciplinary committee have overturned suspensions for high challenges this season, with Wigan’s Jordi Gomez seeing his three-game ban rescinded after being dismissed at the Stadium of Light in September.
But Sunderland will have to face up to the likely possibility that they will be without Sessegnon for the crunch home games against Stoke and Southampton, followed by the final day trip to Spurs.
Sessegnon’s potential absence leave Di Canio in a quandry over his striking options for next Monday’s televised clash with the Potters.
With Steven Fletcher out and Connor Wickham missing a third successive game with a calf injury last night, Mikael Mandron made his Sunderland debut as a late replacement for Danny Graham and almost netted a consolation in stoppage time.
But Di Canio won’t risk Mandron in a game of such magnitude, with Craig Gardner or Adam Johnson the most likely candidates to take Sessegnon’s role in the hole behind Graham.