ANDY RITCHIE intends to use Frank Sinclair’s red card at Walsall to improve Town’s chances of avoiding being fined for their disciplinary record.
Having paid out £7,500 to the Football Association for last season’s misdemeanours, the club have a £20,000 suspended fine hanging over them.
Last season, when Ritchie was in charge for only the final four matches, Town were hit by 14 separate player bans, totalling 22 games, with eight of the suspensions following red cards.
Two of them, for Adnan Ahmed and Pawel Abbott, came in the 3-0 defeat at Doncaster, Town’s destination tomorrow.
Sinclair will be banned for the League I game after striker Danny Cadamarteri missed last Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Walsall following his red card against Nottingham Forest.
There have been 13 other yellow cards issued to Town players, and Ritchie said: “I place great importance on good discipline, because when you have a smallish squad, suspensions are the last thing you need.
“But in relative terms, our record so far is not too bad, although there’s no room for complacency.
“While I thought Danny Cadamarteri’s red card against Forest (he was shown a second yellow for an over-zealous goal celebration) was ridiculous, I have spoken to Frank Sinclair about his sending off on Saturday.
“While I stick to my belief that for his first booking, Frank was reacting after their player (Ishmel Demontagnac) had kicked him off the ball and should therefore himself have been shown a red, I can’t condone what Frank did in reaction.
“That booking meant he was walking a tightrope, and while there was no real malice in the challenge which led to his second yellow, it was mistimed and he left the referee with no real option but to send him off.
“Frank’s a very experienced player, and the fact that he can get drawn into something like that shows how easily it can happen.
“If our less experienced players take note and try to avoid letting the red mist descend in similar situations, then we will gain some positives from this one negative.”