Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has warned his team there will be serious consequences if ill-discipline is allowed to disrupt their push for the Championship, writes James Shield.
Clough was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s League One encounter against Scunthorpe which could see the visitors forced to play without a recognised centre-half should Jay McEveley’s injured shoulder fail to respond to treatment.
With Chris Basham, the former Swindon Town defender’s partner at the heart of United’s rearguard, ruled-out through suspension, Clough said: “It’s something the players have got to be aware of going forward. It’s something they should have been aware of since the start of the season.
“There are times when you are going to get booked. We appreciate that.
“There are times when you are going to have to get booked and we understand that too.
“But it’s the daft ones, ones that are completely avoidable, that there are no excuses for and can come back to haunt everyone later on.”
“Things like kicking a ball away right in front of the referee,” Clough added. “Taking your shirt off when you score a goal.
“Those are the type of things that drive you mad. There’s no point and if you do it you know you are going to get booked so why bother?
“Why even do it in the first place?”
Basham misses both the visit to Glanford Park and Tuesday’s game at Walsall after collecting his 10th caution of the campaign against Fleetwood Town last weekend.
Although Clough has effectively conceded defeat in the race to secure automatic promotion - United are fifth - he said: “Individual mistakes are costing us and we can’t keep making mistakes.
“Jose (Baxter) was sent off against Coventry and it cost us two points. There were late goals versus Peterborough and two poor ones when Fleetwood came here.
“Teams which make least mistakes will be successful and I’d hazard a guess that Bristol City and Preston have made the least mistakes in our division this season. That’s why they are first and second.
“They happen, even to the best, but they’ve got to be kept to a minimum.”