While also accepting the need to rein in his emotions on occasion, Cobblers midfielder John-Joe O’Toole has revealed his personal frustration with referees for their insistence on constantly booking him for dissent this season.
After picking up nine bookings in the first 29 games last season, O’Toole is already on 12 cautions in the same amount of games of the current campaign, putting him within three yellow cards of a three-game suspension.
After the third goal against Rochdale, all the lads were around the referee because it was an obvious push from our perspective. There were at least five or six of us around him but he only books meCobblers midfielder John-Joe O’Toole
But while the player accepts he must learn to keep his emotions in check, O’Toole also feels referees are being overly picky when it comes to dishing out yellow cards.
He said: “I could stand here and blame referees but people will just say I need to look at myself.
“But I’m a passionate player and I don’t shy away from a tackle.
“It’s hard when you feel hard done by and you’re working hard and you feel like the man in black isn’t pulling his weight or doing his job properly.
“It’s hard to take sometimes and sometimes I’ve lost my cool but I think I’ve been a bit unlucky with a couple, I’ve got to be honest.
“You make a couple of tackles early on and you get booked for them and you just want to pull your hair out.
“I’ve got to learn from it sooner rather than later.”
O’Toole also believes his reputation is to blame for some of his bookings, particularly the one he picked up for protesting the validity of Rochdale’s third goal against Northampton last month.
When asked if his reputation goes before him, he said: “Definitely. After the third goal against Rochdale, all the lads were around the referee because it was an obvious push from our perspective.
“There were at least five or six of us around him but he only books me! I asked him and he had nothing to say back and that’s just one of them.
“Maybe they are coming for me a little bit but it’s something I’ll have to deal with.
“Maybe I should shave my hair off!”