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Wigan boss Bruce: Koumas didn't deserve red

Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce defended Jason Koumas after his dismissal in their 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.

Midfielder Koumas faces a three-match suspension after catching Wanderers centre-back Gary Cahill in a challenge for a 50-50 ball, after which referee Steve Tanner quickly reached for his pocket.

However, whilst there has been a clampdown of late on two-footed tackles, and also those with studs showing, Latics manager Bruce feels there are grounds for an appeal, with Tanner to take another look at the incident.

"I've seen it, and given the climate and what happened a few weeks ago, we're all horrified when we see an injury like that," remarked Bruce, referring to Arsenal striker Eduardo's broken leg following a tackle by Birmingham's Martin Taylor.

"But it has happened in football for years, and you do know that part and parcel of the game is that you get injured, and usually from physical contact.

"If he (Koumas) had been two-footed, and over the top of the ball, then I would say the referee is right and he doesn't deserve to be on the pitch.

"When you do make a challenge and you slide into the ball, then it is impossible not to show your studs.

"But the big thing is he has tried to go for the ball and not gone over it, so in my opinion it is a challenge that deserved a yellow card.

"We've asked the referee and he has very kindly said he would look at it because for me I think it is harsh.

"I do think it is because of the climate we're in because at the moment referees are under enormous pressure.

"People don't know the rules any more. If you now make a sliding challenge and you miss it, is it a straight red? I think that needs to be clarified.

"If that's the case then you cannot take the chance of trying to slide in for the ball.

"So we now have to go down the proper channels (for an appeal)."

Bolton manager Gary Megson, who previously signed Koumas when he was West Brom boss, indicated that maybe the Welshman deserved to be dismissed.

"Jason is an exceptional talent, but tackling is not one of his best qualities," said Megson.

"He has gone into a tackle, lunged at it a little bit, and with the rules the way they are now, it (the red card) is probably the right thing.

"It's unfortunate from Jason's point of view, but he is not a tackler, and it was shown there."

Ten-man Wigan went on to take the lead in the 34th minute, with Emile Heskey scoring his first goal for seven months, ending a 20-match drought with a hooked right-foot volley.

The Latics then managed to hold on for the remainder of the game, despite coming under severe pressure in the second half.

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