Lomas faces defensive crisis

December 13, 2012

England U21 pair Steven Caulker and Thomas Ince have been banned for their parts in the melee that followed the clash with Serbia U21s.

Ugly scenes erupted in Krusevac on 16 October after Stuart Pearce's side secured their passage to next year's European Championships with a 2-0 aggregate victory.

Danny Rose was shown a second yellow and consequent red card after he kicked the ball into the crowd at the final whistle - sparking a mass brawl that involved most players as well as officials and members of both management teams.

After a lengthy inquiry, UEFA's disciplinary panel hit Blackpool starlet Ince with a one-match suspension, while Caulker of Tottenham has been banned for two.


The bans are applicable only to games sanctioned by UEFA, meaning that Caulker will miss the England U21 clashes with Italy and Norway and Ince will be absent against Italy only.

Serbia, meanwhile, have been fined 80,000 euros for their part in the melee, and they must play their next UEFA competition home match behind closed doors.

In addition, four of their players have been suspended - Goran Causic, Ognjen Mudrinski, Filip Malbasic and Nikola Ninkovic for four, three, three and two games respectively - and coaches Andreja Milunovic and Predrag Katic are banned from football-related activities for two years.

Proceedings against the English FA, as well as Serbia player Aleksandar Pantic, were dismissed.

The Irishman has missed two games with a thigh injury and will not be risked if he is not fully fit after centre-backs Gavin Gunning and Brian McLean helped United keep clean sheets at Stranraer and Dundee in his absence.

Manager Peter Houston said: "It's touch and go whether he comes back on Saturday. He is doubtful."

Inverness come to Tannadice having lost just once since their 4-0 victory over United on September 29, which was their first Scottish Premier League win of the season.

Houston said: "I think we gave Inverness the confidence to go on this run by scoring four goals against us. They have never looked back since that day.

"We have to be like we have done in the last couple of games and get a clean sheet at least. But we know Inverness will not come down to sit behind the ball.

"They will come to try and win the game and it's only a couple of seasons ago that they came and scored four against us here.

"We have had bad days against Inverness in the past couple of years but we have had good days as well and hopefully Saturday we can make sure it's a good day."

Pictures taken during the fourth-round tie at Stamford Bridge on October 31 appeared to show a fan making a "monkey" gesture.

A 28-year-old man was arrested over alleged racist behaviour and banned by Chelsea.

In response to today's decision, a club spokesman said: "We're currently reviewing the situation."

Other fans in the crowd were interviewed and CCTV footage has been examined but "a decision was taken with the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with no further action," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

He added: "The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) takes any allegation of racist chanting and/or behaviour very seriously and if any matters are brought to our attention they will of course be thoroughly investigated.

"The MPS routinely work very closely with football clubs and partner agencies to monitor behaviour to ensure public confidence and safety."

Steven Anderson's red card at St Mirren last week rules him out, while fellow centre-back Frazer Wright will also miss the game after going over the penalty-points threshold.

Skipper Dave Mackay still has one match to go of a two-game ban, while midfielder Chris Millar is also banned after being red carded in the 1-1 draw against the Buddies.

McCracken had to have surgery after picking up the injury when he clashed heads with Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama during the 1-1 draw at Parkhead on November 11.

The former Dundee United stopper was expected to be out for six weeks but Lomas said: "We will have a chat about it.

"David has been training non-contact for a while but I won't be taking a chance on him.

"I wouldn't do anything like that, we will take advice from the doctor."