Hatters to lose Mullins for four games after deciding against an appeal

Johnny Mullins trudges away after being sent off against Wycombe
Johnny Mullins trudges away after being sent off against Wycombe

Luton Town boss Nathan Jones has confirmed the club won’t be appealing Johnny Mullins’ straight red card received against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

The centre half was dismissed with 15 minutes to go after losing possession inside his own half and lunging in on Chairboys sub Scott Kashket.

It wasn’t a bad challenge, it probably was an amber if you like, bit more than a yellow, but not quite a red.

Nathan Jones

After watching the incident back again, Jones confirmed he would accept the decision, saying: “I don’t think we’re able to (appeal). I don’t think there’s clear evidence to say the referee made a mistake.

“I can see why it’s been given, there are arguments for not, why it could be rescinded, but I don’t think its clarity either way. It might be deemed as a frivolous one, so we probably won’t go down that avenue.

“It doesn’t come across as a good challenge, we know the character Johnny is and it was nothing malicious.

“He’s just taken a heavy touch and then he’s had a little bit of a lunge, so it doesn’t look a good challenge.

“The boy wasn’t hurt, it wasn’t a bad challenge, it probably was an amber if you like, bit more than a yellow, but not quite a red. It’s a decision and I don’t think it was a wrong decision as such.”

With Mullins seeing red for the second time this season, it means the summer signing from Oxford will now be out for four games, breaking up the impressive partnership he was forging with skipper Scott Cuthbert.

Jones continued: “It’s disappointing, but luckily enough they come thick and fast, so it’s not a massive ban, it’s not as long as it could be.

“It’s one we’re disappointed with as he’s an important player for us, but we have the strength in depth to be able to cope with it. It’s just these are things we have to cut out at the minute.

“It’s disappointing because we have someone missing games unnecessarily. It’s a split second decision, we’ve done it, I’ve done it myself, so it’s something that maybe could have been avoided, but it’s part and parcel of the game.

“If in a Sliding Doors moment, we didn’t take that heavy touch then we’d probably be sitting down here having a different conversation.”

Captain Cuthbert also backed the likes of Alan Sheehan or Glen Rea to step up in Mullins’ absence, saying: “That’s where our squad strength and depth comes in.

“We’ve got Sheez who’s suspended, Glen who’s coming back from his suspension too. Johnny’s excellent, he knows League One, League Two inside out, he’s a really experienced campaigner.

“It’s a shame for him that he’s got that suspension, but it gives a chance for someone else to come back in and get a few games.”

Mullins made the error after a quick throw out by keeper Christian Walton which saw the defender take a heavy touch when put under immediate pressure from Kashet

However, Jones had no issues with his on-loan stopper playing out from the back despite Luton leading 1-0 with 15 minutes remaining as he said: “No, not at all and I’m not going all Pep (Guardiola).

“The ball was on, it’s just it was a heavy tough.

“If you kick it long, then Wycombe are far more equipped to have won the first ball and maybe be set up to get the second ball.

“But what we went with was a contrast in style. That contrast in style right up until that challenge worked very, very well, because not many people go to Wycombe and win or lead for long periods of the game and look in so much control.

“We were, so that’s something that I want them to do and we encourage them to do.

“We play under pressure, that’s a big part of what we do and it was the right decision, just a heavy touch.

“He hasn’t done that all season. There was still 15 minutes to go, it wasn’t 89 minutes. If it was 89 minutes, it might be slightly different, but it wasn’t, so it was the right decision.”

Team-mate Cuthbert feld the pitch played a part in Mullins’ receiving his marching orders too, adding: “We’d split to get the ball off Christian, I think the ball’s bobbled over Mulls’ foot and he’s a bit late on the lad.

“Johnny was outstanding, really, really excellent and it’s a shame that it ended that way for him.

“We were being brave going out from the back and sometimes on these pitches when there’s been a lot of freeze over the last few days, a little bobble, took his foot away from it, it’s just one of those things.”