Hatters boss Nathan Jones has labelled the FA ruling that sees Danny Hylton unable to play in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy group stage clash at Peterborough United as both ‘ludicrous’ and 'bizarre'.
The striker was dismissed during last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Rochdale after a lunging challenge on Ian Henderson, earning himself a three game ban.
However, unlike last year where Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Alan Sheehan both featured in the competition while being suspended from league fixtures, a change to the rules this term, means with Hylton not allowed to play in any first team fixture until his ban has been served, he is effectively missing four matches.
On the decision, Jones said: "It’s not just three games, it’s actually four, because of the rule about that he can’t play in the Checkatrade in between which is ludicrous, but that’s what happens.
“Without getting myself in trouble with the authorities, it’s just very, very strange how that decision can come about.
“It’s a number of things that you want to take into consideration.
“One, it is a separate entity, so if you get booked in the Checktrade for example, then it doesn’t count for league.
“Then if you do get sent off in a league game, the game’s not deemed worthy that it counts as one of the suspended games, so fine, but then you’re not allowed to play in it either?
“Now that seems very strange and bizarre if I’m honest, that the authorities would actually decide to do that, as if you ask anyone in football and I think it’s happened to two or three clubs, they all say exactly the same.
“It also comes into it that they want us to play the strongest side possible in the Checkatrade, so you get sanctioned if you don’t play it.
“We’ve got an opportunity to play a player that’s established that would add to the competition and then you’re not allowed.
“So it just seems really, really strange. I could probably use far more vociferous language to describe it, but it just seems strange why people would do that, because there’s no logic to it.
“Yes, I understand that suspension doesn’t count towards that game, if they deem it not worthy, but then at least allow us to play him in it.
"There’s always teething problems with the Checkatrade and I would imagine next year that would get ironed out, because I think clubs have been very annoyed.
“If there’s no logic to it then I’m not the only one thinking that then it has to change.”
Whether it does or not for the following season, Jones remains unconvinced though, saying: “They might do, but you never know, it might be something else.
“There’s always teething problems with it, but if you get sent off, then punish players for getting sent off, no problem.
“It’s just very, very strange, why it doesn’t count. It either is a competitive game that counts, or it’s not, so he can play in it, otherwise it’s a four game ban, so he’s effectively had four games.”
Jones had hoped to appeal the decision made by referee Ollie Yates at Spotland last week, but on his reasons for opting against doing so, continued: “We wanted to, but I think it’s inconclusive in terms of video evidence.
“It’s not a malicious challenge, but the ref made up his mind very, very quickly to say that it was.
“It wasn’t the worst challenge in the game looking at it back, but it’s one of those things and nowadays you have to prove that the referee made a clear and obvious error, and he probably hasn’t made a clear and obvious error.
“It’s just their interpretation, so it’s very difficult to get off with that, so we didn’t want to risk a frivolous appeal as well.”
Hylton will now miss this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Wycombe, plus the league matches against Plymouth and Gillingham, as Jones added: “It is a blow to lose him for three games, it’s a blow to lose any of our players.
“But he’s just coming back in, he’s been in real good form and it just stunts his momentum a little bit, as it’s a real important month with the games that we’ve got coming up too.”