A FORMER Southampton footballer is to stand trial for allegedly assaulting a nightclub doorman with his belt.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon appeared at Guildford Magistrates’ Court in connection with the incident in Church Street, Reigate, in the early hours of December 17.

The 31-year-old, of Kingswood, had been partying with friends at nearby nightclub Mishiko beforehand.

He entered not-guilty pleas to a section four public order offence, causing fear or provocation of violence and a second charge of common assault.

A third charge of possession of an offensive weapon was withdrawn by the prosecution.

Darren Matravers, prosecuting, told the court that Puncheon was caught on CCTV swinging hit belt at a group of people and the buckle at the free end connected with the back of the victim’s head.

Gary Bloxsome, defending, said the CCTV footage described by the prosecutor was a “snapshot” and did not show the events leading up to the incident.

Chairwoman of the magistrates Ann Terry sent the case for trial to be heard at Staines Magistrates’ Court on June 4 and released him on bail with the conditions not to contact Mr Mendy or enter the Mishiko nightclub.

Puncheon arrived at court on crutches, having been injured in a match against Manchester City on Sunday.

He played 74 times for Saints in his four years with the club, scoring nine goals, before being transferred to Palace in 2014.