Craig Gardner backing Lee Cattermole after the Sunderland captain's latest red card

Lee Cattermole gets his marching orders during Sunderland's 2-0 win

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Sunderland's Craig Gardner has called on his team-mates to rally round Lee Cattermole, following the skipper's dismissal in the Capital One Cup defeat of MK Dons.

Cattermole received the red card - the fifth of his Black Cats career - for scything down Adam Chicksen, a challenge boss Martin O'Neill branded "crazy".

"He's the last person in the world who wants to get sent off. He was rock-bottom in the dressing room afterwards and everyone was trying to pick him up."

Craig Gardner

But Gardner vowed the players would support their captain, whose three-game suspension will see him miss Premier League games against against Wigan, Manchester City and derby rivals Newcastle.

The midfielder told the Sunderland Echo: "I feel sorry for Catts because he's been brilliant all season. His attitude in training and on the pitch is spot on. He's a true leader and I just feel sorry for him.

"He's the last person in the world who wants to get sent off. He was rock-bottom in the dressing room afterwards and everyone was trying to pick him up.

"Hopefully we will get him back in the team. From where I was standing at right-back, it didn't look too bad. But I could be wrong. He was the other side of the pitch.

"We have got to get behind him and lift him up."