Full-back Joe Bennett has called on officials to give Sheffield Wednesday top-scorer Fernando Forestieri more protection.
Former Watford forward Forestieri was booked for diving for the second Championship match running in Wednesday’s draw at Hull City last week.
He received his second yellow card at the KC Stadium after referee Tim Robinson harshly penalised him for silmulation after falling to the ground under a challenge from Michael Dawson.
Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal stressed that Forestieri had taken evasive action to avoid a potentially leg-breaking challenge.
But despite Dawson admitting he caught Forestieri and was lucky to escape punishment, the rules stipulate that the Owls can’t get the booking rescinded.
It was Forestieri’s second red card in as many matches, meaning he must sit-out their next two fixtures due to suspension.
Opponents have, on occasions, roughed up the 12-goal forward this season.
Bennett, on loan from Aston Villa for the remainder of the season, told The Star: “Fernando is not a diver. He has been unlucky with a few decisions.
“Because he’s such a creative player, I think defences have to bring him down. Sometimes he has to get out of the way or he’s going to get hurt.
“I was right behind the Dawson challenge. It was a definite foul. I have seen the video back and Dawson caught Fernando, who could have easily got injured. We can’t appeal the yellow card and I think that’s something which needs addresssing.
“The refs have got to protect Fernando more. He is a forward thinking player who is always going to try and create things. Referees have definitely got to look to protect the attacking and more skilful players.”
With Forestieri banned, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao are battling it out to spearhead their attack at home to local rivals Rotherham United this weekend.
“Fernando was quiet and disappointed in the dressing room after the Hull game,” said Bennett. “All the team were gutted for him.
“He is an unbelievable player and we need him.
“It is a big blow for us that Fernando is going to miss the next two games because he is one of our best players and brings something different to our team. He has been doing well so that could cost us.
“But we have good players in the squad like Attey and Lucas who can hopefully come in and do a good job.”