In the last two games, Blackpool have managed a total of 5 red cards, bringing their total number of reds to 8 for the season. This stat alone surely argues that we do indeed have a discipline problem, instead of the players simply being ‘tired`, as Paul Ince told BBC Radio Lancashire.
Ricardo Fuller, Kirk Broadfoot, Gary Mackenzie, Neal Bishop, Jack Robinson and Angel Martinez have all had red cards this season, with Angel and Robinson each picking up two. Paul Ince is a passionate manager, and will always want his players to give 100% in every game but it is evident that this mentality has gone too far within the club and perhaps needs to be toned down slightly.
Pool have changed dramatically from a couple of seasons ago. We were once a team who were often pushed around and weren`t the best defensively, under Ince however we are a much stronger defensive unit which is shown through the 8 clean sheets the side has kept this season.
Asking Ince to take this factor away from the club would be a step too far; after all it`s got us some fantastic results. What I will say however, is that it is time to cut out the unnecessary sending`s off by teaching and telling the players to be more disciplined. The players at our club are top professionals who certainly have the ability to keep a level head even when we are losing games. The players and Ince need to control any frustration they may have and channel it into energy to try and win games, surely that would be better than having to deal with huge numbers of suspensions every week?
Ince is a manager who can get us a playoff spot this year, but only if this problem of discipline is sorted out. We have a good enough squad to finish high up the table, and I for one simply hope Ince can sort out the issue before it becomes an even bigger problem.
What has worried me though, is Ince`s and the other backroom staff`s denial of there being any discipline problem at the club. I think it`s fairly obvious that there is one, so why not admit it, sort it out and regain focus so we can start winning games again as oppose to denying anything is wrong? Ince also said: ‘We shouldn`t be winning every game because we don`t have a budget and squad big enough to win every game`. While I respect what he is saying and admit that our budget and squad size is a problem, announcing to everyone that we shouldn`t win every game hardly reflects well on the club. He should want to go out there and win every game, not admitting defeat before they even start.
Up next is a very tricky game against QPR at home. Achieving a win and not picking up any reds would get the fans back on Ince`s side and hopefully motivate the players to start challenging again, bouncing back from two heavy defeats is a must this Saturday.