Sunderland's Phil Bardsley to serve four-game FA ban
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley will serve a four-match ban after deciding not to contest a Football Association charge of violent conduct.
The 26-year-old was involved in an incident with Chelsea's Juan Mata in the first half of their home defeat against the Blues on Saturday.
The Scotland international appeared to stamp on the Spanish winger.
Referee Lee Probert did not take any action but the FA reviewed the incident using video evidence.
Bardsley was sent off for two bookable offences during the 1-0 home defeat by arch-rivals Newcastle on 20 August.
His absence represents a fresh blow for manager Steve Bruce, who saw record signing Asamoah Gyan head for United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain on loan for the rest of the season just hours before kick-off on Saturday.
Bardsley has been one of Bruce's most dependable men in recent times, operating largely as a left-back rather than in his favoured position on the right last season.
He returned to the right against Chelsea with Republic of Ireland international John O'Shea missing because of a calf problem, and with O'Shea fighting to be fit for Sunday's visit of the Potters, the manager's options look to be limited.
Sunderland head into the game against Stoke still looking for their first victory of the season and with Bruce under increading pressure.