Video appeal for Butt

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The Independent Online
Manchester United will use video evidence in a bid to clear their young midfielder Nicky Butt, following his sending-off against West Ham at Upton Park on Monday.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, is to give the Football Association a tape of the incident which led to Butt's second booking of the game.

He is to ask the FA to judge whether the referee Stephen Lodge made a mistake - the first time United have taken that step since the appeal system was changed on the introduction of automatic suspensions.

Butt faces a one-match ban on 5 February after his dismissal, but Ferguson is convinced that his player was harshly punished when he was shown a second yellow card for a 75th-minute challenge on Julian Dicks.

"I thought Nicky was unfortunate to go off because he got the ball OK," Ferguson said. "I think we should send the video to Lancaster Gate in fairness to the lad. If it is a clear sending-off and the player deserved it we would accept it and get on with it, but I think Nicky was very unlucky."

The incident which led to Butt's dismissal was sparked by a two-footed challenge by Dicks on the United striker Andy Cole, which was highlighted by Sky Sports who were screening the game live.

The FA said yesterday that they did not plan to take any action over Dicks's lunge, but the player himself was furious over his trial by television. He claimed Sky's pundit, Andy Gray, has a vendetta against him after a row earlier this season when Gray accused him of stamping on Chelsea's John Spencer.

"Andy Gray is making a career out of having a go at me," Dicks said. "The way he keeps going on about me, I'll be on an FA charge again soon. Two- footed tackles can be fair and this one was."

But Gray, who highlighted the incident using video playback, said: "Julian should not blame me. People wanted to know why Cole was acting like a madman and risking getting himself sent off. I had the answer on the video replay. I thought it was a dangerous tackle and I have seen nothing since which will convince me otherwise."

The Barnsley manager, Danny Wilson, is poised to buy St Mirren's Scotland Under-21 striker, Barry Lavety. Wilson watched the powerful target man last night at Hamilton and hopes to secure a deal this week.

Lavety has made a successful return to form this season after a lay-off following a positive drugs test. Barnsley will sell their unsettled striker Andy Payton if they can push through the Lavety signing in the next few days.