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Sittingbourne manager Aslan Odev defends Ira Jackson over red card

By Craig Tucker

Aslan Odev has defended Ira Jackson after the winger's red card in Sittingbourne's FA Cup exit.

Jackson starts a three-game ban this weekend following his dismissal for an off-the-ball incident.

It happened towards the end of Brickies' first qualifying round defeat by Gosport on Saturday, with Jackson sent off on the advice of a linesman who supposedly spotted an elbow.

Ira Jackson was sent off against Gosport Picture: Tony Jones
Ira Jackson was sent off against Gosport Picture: Tony Jones

That sounds out of character and while they won't contest the suspension, manager Odev is backing his player.

He said: "Ira said to me he didn't really do anything, he just pushed their player away.

"The linesman thought he elbowed him in the stomach while the game was stopped and it was a throw-in to us.

"I didn't see it, I was organising something else, but it's a red card and there's nothing we can do.

"Whether we thought it was or it wasn't, it's neither here nor there now but I'd be very surprised if that's what he did.

"I've got to trust my players, I'll always back my players.

"I didn't see it so if Ira said he didn't do anything or anything that he did wasn't intentional, then I fully believe him."

Sittingbourne are out to end Whyteleafe's 100% record in Bostik South East this Saturday.

Visitors Leafe have won all four games while Sittingbourne have lost their past two league matches.

Goalkeeper Patrick Lee conceded five against Thamesmead a fortnight ago but had a superb game in the FA Cup and is set to keep Harry Brooks out of the side.

Odev said: "Patrick's really grown into the squad and we're blessed to have two very good keepers.

"It's good competition and keeps them both on their toes and keeps them both improving.

"That performance in the FA Cup is testament to that and all credit goes to Patrick Lee."

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