Preston defender Paul Huntington has been banned for three games after admitting a violent conduct charge.
The 32-year-old stood on Derby County's Louie Sibley in the 17th minute of Wednesday's Championship clash.
The incident was missed by the match officials, but a Football Association panel banned Huntington after reviewing video evidence.
He will miss forthcoming games against Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest.
"It's one of those incidents whereby only Paul will know if he meant to tread on the player or not," Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"I think there are certain players who would intentionally do that, but I wouldn't put Paul down as one, certainly in the time I've worked with him.
"But at the end of the day, he has a ban, which is disappointing for us and for him especially as he has worked so hard to get back into the team."
Preston are ninth in the table, four points outside the play-off places, with six matches to play.