Fleetwood Town are set to end the season with the worst disciplinary record in League One but Joey Barton insists they are not a dirty side.
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However, the Highbury boss says this is an area where Town must improve next season.
Nathan Sheron has received a four-game ban after his second red card of the season for a late challenge on Blackpool’s Matty Virtue on Monday, a suspension which will carry over to the opening game of next season.
Town have received 118 yellow cards and nine red cards this season, though Ched Evans’ straight red against tomorrow’s opponents Bristol Rovers was overturned on appeal.
Harry Souttar misses this weekend’s Highbury clash as he completes his ban for a straight red at Barnsley a fortnight ago.
Cian Bolger (now at Lincoln City), Wes Burns, Lewie Coyle, Dean Marney and James Wallace have also been sent off for Fleetwood this season.
Ash Hunter and Ross Wallace have also served suspensions for their yellow cards. Both have picked up 11, with Coyle on 10 and Evans on nine.
Twenty four Town players have been booked this season. The only two to have featured in the league without being cautioned are Ged Garner and Barry Baggley, who have played a combined total of 27 minutes.
Town were warned about their record at the turn of the year and Barton (left) is anticipating FA action at the end of the season.
He says none of the red cards was malicious, but asked if Town need to improve their discipline Barton answered: “Yeah, I think so. It has certainly cost us in the last couple of weeks. Too many times this season we have found ourselves down to 10 men.
“I’ve not been one to fine players because most of the time they have been competing for the ball. I don’t really want to take money from them when they are competing for the ball or made a mistake. If I felt there was any malicious intent in any of them, then I’d address that.
“We have just been a shade unfortunate. I think referees dealing with us have been slightly overzealous on occasions, hence we have had cards rescinded.
“I just think we are a competitive side. We are not a dirty side but the fair play table shows that we are.
“No doubt the FA will be reprimanding us at some point because we did get a warning in January.
“There is a conversation to be had. We just go out to compete but it is definitely an area we need to improve,”