The Football Association may review their appeals procedure following the red card clash between Kyle Bennett and Preston opponent Neil Kilkenny.
City’s on-loan winger is banned for today’s trip to his boyhood club Wolves but Kilkenny is free to play for North End against Notts County.
Both clubs had appealed over Tuesday night’s double dismissal but Preston argued against referee Stuart Attwell’s decision and City disputed the severity of the three-game punishment.
It highlighted the dilemma that clubs face because they can only appeal against one or the other – something that the FA could now address.
City boss Phil Parkinson said: “It’s almost comical. We went from being delighted to get Kyle’s ban down to one game to feeling a sense of injustice.
“The FA have got to look at it because the situation is ridiculous as it is.
“Surely you can just appeal a sending-off and then they should be able to decide whether it’s reduced or rescinded.
“I’ve never known an incident like this. It just doesn’t seem right.
“Obviously the main instigator of the sending-off has ended up with nothing. We still have to take the one-game ban.”
City would probably not have won their case if they had appealed directly against the sending off.
The law states that raising your hands to another player’s chest warrants a yellow card, whereas raising them to the throat or face means an automatic red.
It might have been the slightest of touches but Bennett did appear to catch Kilkenny’s neck. So had City argued against the card, not the punishment, the winger would have been stuck with a three-game ban.
Preston had more flexibility because the video evidence of Kilkenny making contact was inconclusive, so they successfully argued against the fact that he had connected above the shoulders.
But City were still fuming that, by tumbling to the floor, the Australian’s dramatic reaction prompted Attwell to give them both their marching orders.
Parkinson said: “Kilkenny was the initial aggressor and he’s then fallen over to try and get Kyle sent off.
“Without that happening there wouldn’t have been a red card and he ends up getting off scot-free.”
City did try to do some late business on transfer deadline day, with sources in the north-east linking them with Matty Dolan of Middlesbrough.
Parkinson, who extended goalkeeper Arron Jameson’s loan until the end of the season, will now renew his hunt for a left back and another midfielder when the emergency loan window reopens in a week’s time.
Former player of the year Luke Oliver made his expected Valley Parade exit yesterday.
The giant centre half agreed to cancel his contract to become a free agent and is set to join ambitious non-league outfit Forest Green.
Oliver, signed by Peter Taylor in 2010, overcame a tough start to establish himself as a fans’ favourite and swept the board at the club’s awards two years later.
But a ruptured Achilles tendon at the start of last season saw him miss out on both Wembley appearances.