Aidy Boothroyd is confident key defender Joe Widdowson will be able to negotiate the disciplinary tightrope he finds himself balancing on precariously.
The Town left-back picked up his 14th yellow card of the season in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Bradford City, and that means that one more caution will earn him a three-match ban – and end his involvement in the regular season.
And with defensive cover at Sixfields a little thin on the ground thanks to Kelvin Langmead’s knee injury, Boothroyd is expecting the former Rochdale man to use his nous to ensure he is available for the key promotion battles to come, starting with Saturday’s visit of relegation-haunted York City.
“The situation with Joe is a worry, and he has had a lot of bookings this season which perhaps could have been avoided, so he now has to be very, very careful,” said Boothroyd.
“He is one of our better players and we don’t want to lose him.
“I think John Johnson went 14 games without a booking last season when he reached nine (you get a two-match for 10 cautions), so I am sure Joe can do the same for the next four.
“He is a very competitive player, and he is as disappointed as everybody else with the amount of bookings he has.
“A lot of the bookings for little things could have been avoided, and we have have had some over-officious referees at times, but that’s how it is.
“He now has to avoid being booked between now and the end of the season, and he will be able to do it.
“He is a mature player, it’s not as if he he is a kid.
“He is 24 now and has played a couple of hundred games, so he should be able to do it.”