Red card transferred to Melchiot

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The red card given to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in Wednesday's Worthington Cup defeat at Tottenham has been transferred to his Chelsea team-mate Mario Melchiot.

The Blues top scorer was mistakenly sent off by the referee, Mark Halsey, for appearing to raise a hand to the face of the Spurs striker Teddy Sheringham, sparking a mêlée after 55 minutes of the semi-final second leg at White Hart Lane. But television coverage showed that Hasselbaink's Dutch international team-mate Melchiot was the offender.

Yesterday, the FA confirmed the decision to transfer the punishment from the striker to the 25-year-old defender had been reached following correspondence with Halsey. Melchiot – who picked up a yellow card four minutes later in the midweek game for a foul on Mauricio Taricco – will therefore start a three-match suspension on 6 February.

Although he is free to play in today's FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Ham at Stamford Bridge, the suspension will rule him out of a fifth-round tie, should Claudio Ranieri's team progress. If they do not, Melchiot will be ruled out of the Premiership game at home to Fulham on 6 March. The suspension means he will miss the league games at Aston Villa, on 9 February, and Charlton, on 2 March.

The Leicester midfielder Dennis Wise needs a thigh operation and will be out for the rest of the season. The former Chelsea captain, who moved to Filbert Street last summer, will have the operation on Tuesday.

Wise has been in Italy for the last five days, seeing a specialist recommended to him by his former Stamford Bridge manager, Gianluca Vialli. But there is now no hope that treatment will alleviate the problem and the 34-year-old will miss the last three and a half months of City's bid to avoid relegation.

The Foxes manager, Dave Bassett, is already resigned to being without the defenders Gerry Taggart and Gary Rowett and the midfielder Darren Eadie for the rest of the campaign. In addition, his recent signing, the striker Brian Deane, tore a calf muscle in training last week which will keep him on the sidelines for up to a month.

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