Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand has denied a violent conduct charge and his appeal will be heard on Thursday.
Television replays appeared to show the 31-year-old defender strike Hull forward Craig Fagan in United’s 4-0 Premier League win on Saturday.
If Ferdinand is found guilty, he would miss Sunday’s Premier League trip to Arsenal, the home game against Portsmouth on 6 February and an away game at Aston Villa four days later.
Ferdinand was making his return to the first team against Hull after spending three months out with a calf injury.
“Rio’s performance level is important,” stated United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “It is important to have him back because getting the centre-halves fit is key to our progress this season.”