Bradley Johnson

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Derby midfielder Johnson banned four games for biting Joe Allen

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Derby County will be without midfielder Bradley Johnson for the next month after video caught him biting Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen during Stoke’s 2-1 win in Championship play on Wednesday.

In the aftermath of Oghenekaro Etebo’s 33rd minute red card, Johnson clearly bit Allen in the shoulder/neck area during an on-field scrum. The referee did not see the incident, allowing the FA disciplinary committee to issue the four-match ban. All in all, Johnson will miss the next five matches, having earned a yellow card accumulation ban on Wednesday, having been cautioned for further participation in the 33rd minute scrum. That will keep him out until the December 29th match against Bolton.

The usual ban for violent conduct is three matches, the standard for a direct red card, whether it be for a violent foul during the course of play or outside it. However, the FA said Johnson had been “found to have committed an act of violent conduct for which the standard punishment would be clearly insufficient,” leading to the four-match punishment.

In an unusual turn, despite the FA handing down the punishment, Allen came out after the match to defend his alleged aggressor, saying, “it might look a certain way but he hasn’t bit me.” He didn’t think Johnson should be banned at all, saying, “he might have got a little bit of the shirt but nothing that I’m worried about and I don’t think it should go any further that that.”

Derby narrowly missed out on promotion yet again last season, falling to eventual champions Fulham in the playoff semifinals. They’re in the mix for a playoff spot again this season, sitting seventh with 31 points. Johnson has been a key player for the Rams this year, but recently lost his starting spot. He started eight of Derby’s first 12 matches, but the Stoke match was his first start in the last seven.