Cahill misses next three games as FA upholds Arsenal sending off

Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill has lost his appeal over his red card at Arsenal on Saturday. The 24-year-old challenged his dismissal by referee Stuart Attwell for a 64th-minute challenge from behind on striker Marouane Chamakh, and his case was heard by a regulatory commission yesterday.

An Football Association statement said: "At a regulatory commission hearing today, a claim for wrongful dismissal from Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill was dismissed. As a result, Cahill's three-match suspension will remain and will be served with immediate effect."

Cahill will miss this weekend's Premier League trip to Aston Villa and the Carling Cup tie at Burnley, as well as Manchester United's visit to the Reebok Stadium. That will come as a blow to manager Owen Coyle, who voiced his dismay at Attwell's decision in the immediate aftermath of the game.

Wanderers were pushing for an equaliser at 2-1 when Cahill departed and eventually lost the game 4-1. Coyle said: "I don't think it merited a red. All of a sudden we were playing Arsenal with 10 men, and it is difficult at the best of times with 11.

"We had put so much into the game that at that time we looked like the team who would get the equaliser," Coyle added.

Cahill and Coyle can at least console themselves with the fact that the commission did not view their appeal as frivolous, a finding which would have seen the player's ban extended to four games.

Bolton midfielder Joey O'Brien is desperate just to play football after fearing his career could be over. The 24-year-old has been sidelined for almost two years by a succession of injuries, one of which left him needing to have part of his kneecap removed.

O'Brien has not played for the club since the 0-0 draw with Blackburn on in October 2008, but is now fit and hoping for a loan move to get some action under his belt. He said: "I have spoken to the manager and it's an option – but it's whether a club wants me or not. We will have to wait and see. I have not been involved in the first team at the moment and have been playing reserve-team football, so it's a step up to be playing competitive football in the Championship.

"The last two years have been pretty grim," O'Brien added, "but if someone had told me a year ago I would have to go out on loan to play football, I would have snapped their hand off because it didn't look like I would ever play again.

"There have been some dark days. The first surgery wasn't a success and, after the second one, they weren't very optimistic about the outcome because I'd had a piece of my kneecap taken out. I have still got a long way to go, but the only way I'm going to get there is by playing games."

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