LEWES boss Steven King will appeal against his red card that followed a horror injury to defender Jay Conroy.

King was dismissed from the dug-out by referee Harry Lennard during Saturday's 3-0 Conference south defeat at Eastleigh.

It came after a shocking incident which resulted in Conroy being stretchered off and rushed to hospital.

The former Crystal Palace trainee was knocked unconscious and suffered convulsions following an aerial challenge with striker Paul Sales.

King served a lengthy touchline ban last season after being accused of repeated misdemeanors in the dugout.

But he insists he did not deserve to be punished because he feared for his player's life.

He said: "I have made a big effort not to get involved with referees. This was the first time I have been in trouble for 18 months and I don't want people seeing I got sent off and just thinking I was effing and blinding at the ref for no reason.

"It was not like that. Jay went up for a header and got elbowed in the temple and was not moving on the floor.

"He then started having a fit but the referee did nothing about it. He played on for a few seconds and then stopped play because everyone was shouting and went to talk to the player who had put in the elbow.

"He didn't call on the physio so I sent him on anyway and it was their (Eastleigh's) manager who called for the stretcher.

"By this stage I lost the plot and went nuts because I could not believe the referee was not checking the safety of the player. I told him it was a joke and a disgrace and then he sent me off, which was a really cheap shot.

"You see players swallowing their tongues more and more now so the safety of players has to be the main priority for referees.

"We have seen players die on the pitch, so when he (Conroy) was not moving, I got really worried. We will definitely appeal against it and hopefully the FA will take into consideration the reasons I got so angry."

Conroy is likely to miss Saturday's big FA Cup fourth qualifying round trip to Conference premier side Grays.

The Essex club have been struggling this season but King insists his high-flyers are very much the underdogs.

He said: "Grays are not doing so well but you would be a fool to underestimate them. They have a lot of quality and are underachieving at the moment.

"People keep saying they fancy us to beat them but Grays will be thinking this is a good chance to kick-start their season, so it will be very tough."

Rooks will be without midfielder Andy Drury after he suffered a knee injury in Tuesday's goalless stalemate against Maidenhead and defender Lewis Hamilton is a doubt with hamstring trouble.