GARY Rowett has vowed to stamp out the disciplinary problems which are undermining Burton Albion’s season.
The Brewers have had three players sent off in the last six matches and lost all three when down to 10 men.
Albion boss Rowett wants a rapid end to the glut of red cards.
“If we want to achieve anything we’re giving ourselves a mountain to climb,” he said. “All I can say is we’re trying to eradicate it and that’s all we can do.
“It’s something we’ve got to get out of our game.”
Burton are a competitive side, with plenty of combative characters in their line-up.
But it is not that which is to blame for their series of sendings-off.
“I take responsibility for the fact we’re competitive and I want the players to be competitive, but we’ve made very, very poor decisions in games,” said Rowett.
“I couldn’t say the red cards are down to being competitive – they’re down to rushes of blood.
“We’ve had meetings about it and discussions about it after Marcus (Holness) got sent off to say there have been a few of these now.
“We can’t let it affect the good work we’re doing on the training pitch.”
A problem for Albion is that, despite them not being a dirty team, other sides have cottoned on to their record and are attempting to influence referees.
“We’re not a dirty team,” said Rowett. “The problem happens when you get a couple of sendings-off and you’re a competitive side.
“The opposition come and, I’m not suggesting they look to get people sent off, but they’re cute about it.
“One or two sides are going to play on it and we’ve got to expect that.
“We’ve got to ensure that competitive nature doesn’t put us in a position for them to do something about that.
“Sometimes a strong challenge can almost be a straight red card.
“And we’ve got to do something about it after getting three sent off in six before half-time.”
The sendings off themselves have also been somewhat surprising.
Ian Sharps got a red card for an out-of-character retaliation, Holness was sent off for raising his hands to a player and Billy Kee revealed he had never before been dismissed after his red on Saturday for two poor tackles against Southend United.
“We’ve got to give ourselves a fighting chance,” said Rowett. “The players are saying it themselves.
“Sharpsy’s was completely out of character.
“Marcus – it’s very difficult to legislate for someone getting up and pushing a player in the face.
“Billy then tells us he’s never been sent off before.
“Are we just having a little spell where one or two things are going against us?
“But I take it on the chin and I’ll sort them out.
“While I’m frustrated, I also take great heart as I don’t think anyone has outplayed us and been a better team than us.
“It’s frustrating in itself, but something will click soon.”
JORDAN Pickford’s loan with Albion has been extended until December 9.
The 19-year-old Sunderland goalkeeper has made eight appearances for the Brewers so far this season.