Leamington manager Paul Holleran believes Jack Edwards has become a target for opposition players after the midfielder received his second red card of the season at Poole Town on Saturday.
A rash challenge from Edwards had already brought him to the attention of referee Ben Knight before the midfielder’s angry reaction to a tackle from Steve Devlin saw Knight dish out a second yellow midway through the first half.
“Teams see Jack Edwards as a threat,” said Holleran. “Word gets around and clubs like to rough him up a little.
“He’s got to manage that and I’m pretty sure he will learn.
“It’s not the first time he’s reacted and experienced players will suss him out.
“Jack will feel he was caught after the ball had gone and it probably should have been a free-kick but he left his foot there and gave the referee no option.
“It’s an element of his game that we’ve got to get on top of and it has been dealt with internally.”
Holleran had much more sympathy for Jamie Hood, however.
The defender received a straight red card for hand ball after throwing himself in the way of a close-range shot, with Holleran deeming it a harsh call from Knight.
“It’s hit Jamie and he’s no more than two or three yards away.
“The ref’s given a penalty but to send the player off...
“His interpretation is that it is a clear goalscoring chance but there are about 15 players in the box and about ten, 12 behind the ball.
“I felt sorry for Jamie because to be 30 games in and only have got four cautions playing centre-half, he hasn’t done too bad.”
The two sending-offs meant Leamington were reduced to nine men for the third time this season, but the Brakes boss was quick to defend his side’s disciplinary record.
“It is a little bit out of character for us.
“Our disciplinary record has always seen us in the top half of the fair play table.
“It’s not like we are out of control. We just have these moments.
“That’s three games - St Neots, Biggleswade and Poole - where we have missed out on points because we didn’t have 11 players on the pitch.
“We’ve got to learn from it.”
Leamington, who sit fourth in the Southern Premier Division after the 1-0 defeat at Poole, switch their attentions to the FA Trophy tomorrow when they make the trip to Conference Premier side Altrincham.
The Robins were unlucky to lose out in the second round of the FA Cup to Colchester United last weekend, twice taking the lead before bowing out to a goal in the fourth and final minute of injury time.
But despite Altrincham’s cup pedigree and the two-division gulf between the sides, Holleran said Brakes will travel to Moss Rose full of belief.
“We’ve got through some difficult games to get here and we know that when it gets to 5pm there will be one or two shocks.
“We’ve got to cling on to the thought that it might be us and we’ll have a real good go and see where that takes us.”
Ross Oulton will return to the squad tomorrow after suspension while Lee Chilton should be available after missing the trip to Poole due to his partner going into labour.
James Mace is back in full training, but Joe Halsall is cup-tied.
Leamington will have little to recover from their cup exploits, with a league trip to Hungerford Town following on Monday evening.
n The New Windmill is hosting an FA Youth Cup clash between Coventry City and Stoke City this evening (Friday, 7pm).