QPR captain Joey Barton will miss this month’s potentially combustible return to former club Newcastle after losing his appeal against a three-match ban.
A Football Association panel rejected QPR’s claim of wrongful dismissal and ruled Barton’s suspension should start immediately.
It means he will miss Saturday’s FA Cup third round trip to MK Dons, the clash with Newcastle, who he left under a cloud in August, and the visit of Wigan on 21 January.
Barton was shown a straight red card – the first of his Ranger career – after a clash with Norwich’s Bradley Johnson in Monday’s Premier League match.
Johnson held his face after a coming together in an apparent gesture that he had been headbutted – a charge that Barton repeatedly denied.
After the 2-1 defeat, QPR’s eighth loss in 11 games, Barton took to Twitter to complain that referee Neil Swarbrick had been “conned”.
And last night he returned to the micro-blogging site to vent his frustration, saying he was “devastated” to miss the trip to Newcastle and the weekend’s FA Cup fixture.