Chelsea are considering an appeal against the red card shown to John Terry during Sunday's (8 January) FA Cup third round clash with Peterborough United. The long-serving captain, who returned to training late last month following a buttock injury, was handed his first start since October as Antonio Conte made nine changes to the team denied a slice of Premier League history by Tottenham Hotspur earlier this week but lasted just 67 minutes at Stamford Bridge before being dismissed for a last-man foul on Lee Angol.
Terry has made only seven appearances across all competitions so far this term and that recall against Peterborough marked his first involvement in any senior matchday squad since his late substitute cameo in November's 5-0 thrashing of Everton. Per Opta Stats, the 36-year-old, who also missed the last two games of the 2015-16 campaign following his sending off at Sunderland, is now responsible for three of Chelsea's last six red cards.
A suspension would certainly not aid Terry's slim chances of earning a regular starting berth in Chelsea's three-man defence before his contract expires during the summer, although Conte confirmed in his post-match interview that the club may dispute the decision made by referee Kevin Friend.
"I think the decision wasn't right," he was quoted as saying by the official Chelsea website. "Firstly, he didn't take the opponent and secondly behind John was [Branislav] Ivanovic to cover.
"It's a pity when this happens. When you get a red card it's not good, you have to respect the referee's decision, but in this case maybe we will appeal because the situation is very clear, John didn't deserve this."
Speaking regarding Terry's long-term future, the Italian added: "Now we are in January. First of all, these decisions need to be made with the club, not alone. I'm pleased for John because he's shown me great commitment when I've asked him to play and also when he doesn't. He's helping me a lot in the changing room. He's proving himself to be a good player and, above all, a good man."
Conte was also asked why he has triggered a January option to recall Nathan Ake from his season-long loan stint at Bournemouth. The versatile Dutch defender looks set to fight for a place in Chelsea's first-team squad after impressing with three goals in 12 appearances for the Cherries.
"I called him back because I think he's showing that he's ready to stay in the squad of Chelsea," the manager said. "Chelsea is his home. In the last season he played with Watford, and this season he was with Bournemouth. He's shown he deserves to stay at a great team like Chelsea. I'm pleased he's come back.
"Ake gives me an important option because we are playing with three central defenders. He can play on the left and in the middle. It's important to see in training sessions if he can also play wing-back."