Wolverhampton Wanderers centre-half Gary Breen looks set for a three-match ban for his moment of madness at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Breen's calculated trip on his old Coventry team-mate Darren Huckerby earned him a straight red card, just two minutes after Michael Kightly had scored for Wolves with what proved the only goal of the game in their 1-0 win over Norwich City. And, when Jackie McNamara was then sent off in the final minute for a second bookable offence, it left Wolves down to nine men.
Both men now automatically miss this Saturday's home game with Plymouth Argyle. But Breen looks set to miss a couple more games on top of that, his dismissal having gone down in match referee Nigel Miller's report as "serious foul play". Wolves have decided to appeal against the decision.
Club secretary Richard Skirrow said: "This came as a complete surprise to us. The offence was, in our opinion, a clear case of a professional foul, which denied the Norwich striker a goalscoring opportunity. That would carry just a one-match ban. And we are lodging an appeal."
Manager McCarthy 'pleaded the fifth' on the Breen incident on the night. But he did have sympathy for McNamara.
"I didn’t think it was a red card," said McCarthy. "Norwich were getting back and I think it was a genuine attempt to play the ball. There was nothing cynical about it."
Although victory at Carrow Road came at a cost, McCarthy was still thrilled with his team's Matt Murray-inspired win — Wolves' fifth on the road in their last seven away games — that keeps his side right in the hunt for the play-offs.
"I can’t lie," he said. "It was robbery with violence. But I think if there were any arguments about who the best keeper in the league is then it’s been put to bed. Matt’s one of the best in the country, in my opinion, and he kept us in the game."
Meanwhile, after making six signings this month, McCarthy's only activity on the final day of the transfer window was to cancel the contract of young Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler, who now looks set to sign for Belgium top flight outfit Excelsior Mouscron, subject to an agreement with his parent club Juventude.
The 21-year-old came to Wolves back in the summer, prior to the arrival of McCarthy, enjoying a successful trial at the club's pre-season Spanish training camp in Spain. Despite impressing sufficiently in pre-season friendlies to earn a year-long loan, he has not featured for the first team.
Having long since decided that his team simply did not play the right formation to accommodate him, McCarthy described him as a "square peg in a round hole".
Another of Wolves' loan men Craig Fleming also left the club yesterday, bringing a premature end to his one-month arrival from Norwich City.
Fleming was effectively brought in for just the one game when Breen and Rob Edwards were both suspended for the 2-1 home defeat by Cardiff City 11 days ago. He has been freed up by Wolves to sign an 18-month contract with Rotherham United.