Plymouth Argyle skipper Darren Purse maintains innocence after red card
ARGYLE captain and centre-back Darren Purse has protested his innocence over his dismissal in the 3-0 defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
Purse must serve a three-match suspension, which starts tonight when the Pilgrims play Bradford City in League Two at Valley Parade.
It follows his red card for serious foul play in the 78th minute against Fleetwood after an off-the-ball incident with Town midfielder Jamie McGuire.
McGuire ended up on the ground and referee David Webb, after consulting with both of his assistants, sent Purse off.
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Webb did not see the incident and, instead, went on the word of the assistant referee who was stood furthest away.
Argyle manager Carl Fletcher spoke to the referee after carrying out his post-match interviews with the media.
He told Herald Sport: "The DVD of the game that Fleetwood gave us didn't show the incident, and the BBC camera didn't catch it either.
"There is nothing for us to have a look at. The referee is saying one thing and Pursey saw it differently.
"It's a difficult situation. If you haven't got any evidence that shows it you can't appeal against his sending-off."
Fletcher continued: "The referee told me he hadn't seen it but the linesman who was furthest away did.
"He said Pursey had kneed their guy (McGuire) in the back of the leg. He described it as being like when John Terry was sent-off when playing for Chelsea against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals last season.
"Pursey said he hadn't seen the guy and that he (McGuire) had backed into him and thrown himself to the floor."
Only moments before his dismissal the Argyle captain had been booked by Webb after another confrontation with McGuire.
One possible explanation for Purse's uncharacteristic loss of composure was that McGuire kicked the ball past him after the Pilgrims had been awarded a free-kick.
In addition to tonight, Purse will also be banned for the League Two game against Chesterfield at Home Park on Saturday and the visit of Oxford United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern section quarter-finals on Tuesday, December 4.
Purse and the rest of the Argyle squad travelled from Fleetwood to a hotel near Shipley, in West Yorkshire, on Saturday night.
They have used that as their base to prepare for the game against Bradford, rather than returning to Plymouth.
Purse found out after arriving at the hotel that one of his grandparents had died and Fletcher allowed him to leave and be reunited with his family.
"These things put everything into perspective," said Fletcher. "We sent him home so he could make sure everything was sorted out at that end.
"We can put everything else to one side and speak about it later in the week."
Maxime Blanchard, Argyle's 2011/12 player-of-the-year, will take over from Purse in the centre of defence with Curtis Nelson against Bradford.
Blanchard has been a substitute for the last two matches after Purse returned to the team following a toe injury.