TEAMMATE Joe Newell has leapt to the defence of Will Vaulks following the Rotherham United captain's red card in the South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United last Saturday.
Vaulks was ordered off in the 27th minute of a 2-0 Championship defeat for a challenge on George Baldock.
Newell stopped short of accusing the Blades' wing-back of play-acting in the aftermath of the foul but felt the dismissal by referee Geoff Eltringham was harsh.
"Will is gutted," said the winger who started the South Yorkshire showdown at Bramall Lane after a spell injured or on the bench. "He hasn't meant to 'do' the player. He hasn't touched him. The physio hasn't even come on to the pitch.
"If a centre-half tried to block like that, no-one would say anything about it. It was only because it was a midfielder on the halfway line.
"The lad's gone down. It happens in modern football. I don't want to say too much. Will hasn't hurt the player.
Joe Newell at Bramall Lane
"He's given the referee a decision to make. It's hard for us to take."
Manager Paul Warne is shrugging off the loss of Vaulks for the next three games of Rotherham's fight for second-tier survival.
The player is now banned for Wednesday's trip to Queens Park Rangers, this weekend's home clash with Norwich City and the March 30 visit to Derby County after the international break.
His absence is a big setback for Warne's men who are third from bottom of the table and locked in a six-club battle to stay up.
But Warne insisted: "You live off your squad, you don't live off your 11.
"Will is going to be out of the team, which is a blow, but it allows other people to step forward. I don't have a massive issue with that."
Ben Wiles, Richie Towell and Matt Crooks will vie for the two central-midfield berths against QPR.
The Millers were today assessing centre-half Clark Robertson whose hamstring tightened late on at the Lane, making him a major concern for the midweek encounter in the capital.
Rotherham had made all three of their substitutions so the defender was ordered to stay up front for the last ten minutes and not run.
"Hopefully he will be okay for Wednesday but I would have thought he is a serious doubt," Warne said.
Paul Davis's derby verdict
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