KYLE BARTLEY says there will be no holding back as the centre-back looks to dodge a two-match suspension by avoiding a yellow card in Leeds United’s next four games.
Bartley and right-back Luke Ayling have both picked up nine yellow cards since the start of the season and a 10th caution before the second Sunday in March will result in an automatic two-match ban.
If they avoid a 10th yellow, the threshold would then be raised to 15 between the second Sunday in March and the end of the campaign.
Leeds, though, have four more fixtures until the cut-off point with tomorrow lunchtime’s Championship showdown with Sheffield Wednesday followed by next Friday night’s visit to Birmingham City and then the following Tuesday evening’s clash at Fulham.
United will then welcome Queens Park Rangers to Elland Road on the second Saturday in March, one day before the cut-off point, at which point Bartley and Ayling might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Whites centre-back Pontus Jansson is walking an even thinner disciplinary tightrope as the Swedish international already has 12 yellow cards for the season.
Three more at any point between now and the end of the campaign would see the 26-year-old slapped with a three-game ban and United still have 13 league games remaining, plus the possibility of three more in the play-offs.
“It’s difficult because you always want to go out there and play your natural game and express yourself,” said Bartley, asked if a 10th yellow card was on his mind.
“But it is in the back of your mind because no-one wants to be missing games, especially at this point in the season.
“But in a game as big as Saturday’s, you have got to go out there and give 100 per cent and if that means that you get a yellow card then that’s what it takes to try and get the right result.”
The right result against Sheffield Wednesday would significantly strengthen fifth-placed United’s prospects of finishing in the play-offs – an achievement which Bartley admits would be a terrific feat.
“I think it would be a great achievement, especially looking at where the club has been the last few years,” said Bartley.
“But we don’t want to look too far ahead.
“We have got 13 massive games and the Championship is full of surprises.
“It’s important for us just to keep our eyes on the prize and focus on the next game and that’s Saturday at lunchtime.”