Bristol City boss’ blunt opinion on Sykes suspension and ‘pathetic’ Championship officials

Bristol City are without Mark Sykes for four matches after the Ireland international was retrospectively banned

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Nigel Pearson has revealed his annoyance at Mark Sykes’ four-game suspension and disclosed that Bristol City are readying footage of several incidents over recent months that have gone unpunished by officials.

Sykes was handed the punishment by the FA on Friday, following an altercation with Swansea City’s Ryan Manning in the Robins’ 2-0 defeat on Sunday, March 19.

The winger went down under Joel Piroe’s challenge and the governing body deemed Sykes to be guilty of violent conduct as he kicked out at Manning.

Sykes will miss games against Reading, Stoke City, Middlesbrough and Watford, and his manager couldn’t hide his feelings on the ban in his pre-Royals press conference.

“It’s a massive frustration. You can probably tell I'm very annoyed about it just because of how it came about and the inconsistencies again,” he said.

Sykes’ absence will be a blow for City as they seek a strong end to the season. The club are already without some key first-team players such as Alex Scott, Joe Williams, Tomas Kalas and Rob Atkinson, however the international break has allowed Matty James and Tommy Conway to recover from their injury troubles.

The Robins have been on the receiving end of some questionable decisions this season. Their well-known lengthy run of matches without a penalty kick has been well documented, while numerous incidents on their players have often gone unpunished.

“We're preparing footage that we'll be sending back to the authorities. They're so inconsistent,” Pearson added. “We've had players like Joe Williams when we played Wigan away, he was kicked out at and that was just turned down by them on the day. Pathetic.

“We've had Joe Williams receive a really bad challenge against Sheffield United. Likewise Matty James at Huddersfield. They're leg-breakers, those challengers are leg-breakers. It's beyond me.”

Pearson has spoken on countless occasions this season on the below-par level of officiating in the Championship, and how more often than not he feels his players are not sufficiently protected.

The manager made clear that he wasn’t blatantly disagreeing with the FA’s decision but admitted that he didn’t see much wrong with the altercation.

“I'm not necessarily arguing about that, although there's not a lot in it. Even when I looked at it, I thought 'yes ok, what about the cynical challenge on him?'” He said.

“It all points to the fact that they continue to frustrate everybody in the professional game, by mixing up their reasons and continuing to send very confusing mixed messages back out to the professional game. And I think it's quite frankly disgraceful.”