Pablo vehemently denies spitting claim

PABLO Counago - out for three matches after his red card on Saturday - is vehemently denying that he spat into the face of Scunthorpe central defender Andy Butler.

Elvin King

PABLO Counago - out for three matches after his red card on Saturday - is vehemently denying that he spat into the face of Scunthorpe central defender Andy Butler.

The Ipswich Town striker has no argument over his sending off for raising his hands at defender Jack Cork, and he will start a three-match ban in the home match against QPR on Saturday.

But he is protesting his innocence over an earlier spitting incident that could lead to any extra three-game suspension.

And the Spaniard is being backed by his manager Jim Magilton, who said: “I will be speaking with Pablo today to get his version.

“But I have looked at the tape and there is no evidence of Pablo spitting in anybody's face.”

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Counago is alleging that Butler, who gave him a rough ride in Town's 2-1 Coca-Cola Championship win at Glanford Park at the weekend, elbowed him in the face and loosened a tooth.

The Spaniard feels for Scunthorpe's Jack Cork, who was also sent off, and he considers both red cards came out of a “nothing incident”.

But as they both raised their hands they will take their punishment.

The FA has confirmed Counago could be out for six games if he is also charged with the spitting offence.

Both Scunthorpe manager Nigel Adkins and skipper Andy Crosby accused him of spitting in the face of Butler before his altercation with Cork.

If the referee has reported this the matter could be heard by the FA.

Magilton had said that he would “throw the kitchen sink” at Counago if he was found to have spat. This would be a maximum two-week fine and severe dressing down.

An FA spokesman said: “Pablo Counago could be further charged for spitting if we felt it necessary.

“We will wait to see what is in the referee's report and any video evidence that is available. An offence of spitting carries a penalty of a three-match suspension.”

Counago, whose wife Lara is due to give birth to their first child on Thursday, has twice been sent off before in Town colours, at Reading in October, 2002 and against Sheffield United in February 2003.

Magilton's charge of abusive language to a referee at Stoke on February 23 is expected to be heard by a disciplinary panel this week.

Magilton faces a six-match banishment to the stands, but even with this being his third hearing in 18-months a four-game ban is more likely, along with a fine.

He has not appealed and will not be present when the panel meets, but the club has sent a letter complaining at the way the multi-ball system was handled at Stoke.

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