‘Really, really sad’ – Mark Robins on ‘poor’ rule that puts Coventry City at a disadvantage against Manchester United

Mark Robins has branded FA Cup suspension rules as ‘poor’ as Coventry City prepare to face the might of Premier League Manchester United without one of their most creative players.

The Sky Blues’ thin-looking squad will be a man down at Wembley on Sunday due to play-maker Kasey Palmer serving a one match ban after picking up two yellow cards during the course of the competition – the first for a tackle against Sheffield Wednesday and the second for encroaching onto the pitch at Molineux to celebrate City’s dramatic stoppage time quarter-final comeback against Wolves, having been substituted earlier in the match.

Robins has been reluctant to speak about the suspension before now, but asked about the rule and fact that Palmer won’t be available, he said in his pre-match press conference: “It really is difficult. I think in the moment it was a reaction that we all made on that day at Wolves when you don’t necessarily think too much about it. It was just in the moment and he got a booking, which is difficult.

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“We were talking this week about the scrapping of replays and we ended up playing a replay and an extra game, surely that should have been taken into account. It is really poor but the rules are the rules and we have to abide by them, and unfortunately for him and us we can’t use him.”

The rule is all the more farcical for the fact that Man United’s Amad Diallo was sent off for two bookable offences in the quarter-final win over Liverpool but was able to serve his suspension in the next available match in the league rather than in the next round of the cup, as is the case with the Coventry player.

Asked how Palmer has coped with the disappointment and whether he can use his character and experience in the dressing room on the day, the manager said: “I think Kasey has handled it as well as you could expect. He’s devastated that he can’t take part in it, and feels aggrieved but the rules are the rules, it’s as simple as that. He has to deal with it, and he will deal with it and he can be around it, and it will be good to have him around everyone.

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