Stephane Sessegnon has had his claim for wrongful dismissal against Aston Villa rejected by the Football Association and he will now be suspended for Sunderland's final three games of the season.
Sessegnon, 28, was sent off during the club's 6-1 thrashing at Villa on Monday night following a challenge on French midfielder Yacouba Sylla. The decision means Sessegnon will now miss crucial matches as the Wearsiders fight to stave off relegation.
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With top scorer Steven Fletcher already out injured, Sessegnon had stepped up to the plate to rediscover his form. But now new manager Paolo Di Canio must find another solution to the club's goalscoring ills.
Confirming the decision on their official website, the FA said in a statement: "At an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today, Stephane Sessegnon's claim of wrongful dismissal was unsuccessful meaning the Sunderland midfielder's three-match suspension remains with immediate effect."
Di Canio must now decide whether to move Adam Johnson into a more central role, or afford more match time to young striker Mikael Mandron, unless Connor Wickham can shake off the knock that kept him out of Monday's game.
Sunderland entertain Stoke City and Southampton before finishing their season away at Tottenham Hotspur.