CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe praised his squad for their excellent disciplinary record after they passed the Football Association’s latest cut-off point with no further bookings-related bans.
Players receiving a 10th yellow card after the second Sunday in April will escape an automatic two-match suspension, although a ban would still apply for two bookings in the same game resulting in a red card.
But with just four matches of their Championship campaign remaining, Cherries have no players close to the next totting-up threshold, with 15 cautions before the end of the season bringing about a suspension.
Harry Arter, currently two games into a three-match suspension for his sending off against QPR, will be the only Cherries player this season to have picked up a ban for collecting too many bookings.
The midfielder, cautioned earlier this season against Charlton, Watford, Millwall, Burnley and Yeovil, sat out the visit of Ipswich over the festive period after earning a one-match ban for five bookings.
Richard Hughes and Elliott Ward, two of four Cherries players to have been sent off this season, both picked up one-match suspensions after seeing red for two bookings against Blackburn and Leicester, respectively.
Goalkeeper Ryan Allsop earned a one-match ban after receiving a straight red card during the 2-1 defeat at Leeds in October, while Arter was dismissed for serious foul play against QPR.
Cherries are currently seventh in the Championship fair play table having collected 64 yellow and four red cards during their 46 league and cup games. Burnley top the pile with 47 and three, while Sheffield Wednesday, tomorrow's visitors to Dean Court, are bottom with 93 and six.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “I have been very pleased with our disciplinary record this season and, in the main, we have a very good group of players in that respect. They have kept their heads when situations have become quite volatile and that has been important.
“I think we have a very professional group and they think about what they do. It is a big part of the game because you don’t want to lose players to suspensions and you don’t want to go down to 10 men in games.
“We lost Ryan Allsop to a red card at Leeds but that is the life of a goalkeeper and I thought Harry Arter’s sending off against QPR was harsh. On the whole, I have been very pleased with the lads and it is something we talk to them about because it is very important.”
Cherries’ excellent discipline is highlighted by the number of bookings accrued by defenders Simon Francis (six), Tommy Elphick (five), Steve Cook (four) and Ward (one plus one red for two yellows).
In the FA’s fair play tables, clubs receive four points for a booking, 10 points for a red card due to denial of a goalscoring opportunity or two cautions and 12 points for any other sending off.