A three-game ban for Norwich City youngster Brad Hills is a ‘body blow’ for Accrington Stanley’s League Two promotion push.

Hills was sent-off in the 1-1 draw at Colchester, for what the match official judged a swinging arm in shielding the ball out of play from Tom Hopper.

The 19-year-old has been a cornerstone of the Accrington backline during a season long move that has seen him rated among the best centre backs in the division.

Stanley boss John Coleman labelled the dismissal ‘harsh’ but has no plans to appeal.

“If previous appeals are anything to go by it is a very pointless task that. We’ll lose Brad for three games, which is a body blow for us,” he said, with Hills partnered by fellow Norwich loanee Lewis Shipley in central defence at the weekend. “It was the big turning point.

"Speaking to John Akinde, who is their centre forward, when he came off he said it was a yellow - at very, very worst. He was closer than me.

"That is football. It won’t be the first time we get a harsh decision against us. It definitely won’t be the last. You just have to get on with it.

“We just thought with Lewi having played with Brad quite a lot growing up during their Norwich days that might be a good pairing. He got better as the game went on and made some important interceptions.”

Hills and Shipley were part of settled Accrington rearguard which had kept three clean sheets in their previous four games. Stanley still salvaged a point at Colchester, after Hills’ 46th minute red card, to stay within two points of the play-offs.

The teenager is part of a young group of Norwich centre backs that includes Emmanuel Adegboyega, Jaden Warner and Jonathan Tomkinson all now out on loan to push their claims to be part of a Canaries' squad from next season.

Hills admitted recently he was relishing the extra responsibility of helping lead a promotion push, in a stint that had seen him make 38 appearances in his first tilt at senior football.

“Leadership is a part of my game. I feel if I do that and help others to help myself, it is so much easier to play,” he said, speaking to BBC Sport Lancashire. “I’ve always had that inner leadership. I was captain throughout most of my academy years. I’ve always been a big talker, I wouldn’t say a big character necessarily, but I feel this season I have had to step up quite a lot with the injuries we have had to senior players. I am learning how they lead.

“(A play-off push) makes it a bit more exciting. There are about five teams who are in touching distance. All the staff, the whole team want to push to get there. There is no fear in this team.

"We know if we play our game, we can win against any side in this league. The team spirit is brilliant. Even though we have a lot of young players, and we are all still learning with a lot to prove.”