REDA Johnson has joined David Prutton and Lewis Buxton in walking a disciplinary tightrope.
The left back’s booking in first-half stoppage time at Bolton was his fourth yellow card though he has been restricted to seven matches this season because of a foot injury.
Johnson, who was also cautioned on his comeback against Charlton last Saturday, will be banned for the New Year’s Day clash with Burnley if he is booked at Huddersfield.
He and Buxton are both on four bookings but will escape one-match bans if they get to December 31 without picking up another card.
Prutton is on nine bookings and will be suspended for two games if he reaches 10 before the second Sunday in April.
But Dave Jones has been reflecting on what an asset Johnson can be, with his speed, strength, and power in the air: he has scored three goals this season and notched seven last season.
The defender has also left his manager puzzling over whether left back is his true position... “God knows. I’ve seen Reda score from a cross that’s come in from the left and he’s in the centre. It’s a great asset to have, certainly away from home.”
Jones could consider resting Johnson tomorrow to make sure he avoids suspension, but managers usually dislike disrupting the back four, after a good run.
Striker Jay Bothroyd looks like being back in the squad tomorrow, with only two games left before his loan expires.
But Jones already has Michail Antonio, Chris O’Grady, Mamady Sidibe and Gary Madine from which to choose for no more than two positions up front.
“I’ll rotate as much as I can, and the forwards are the most important ones,” said Jones. “They get back and forward, make runs and set the tempo. With Antonio there, he was involved in the game far more than sometimes he would be.”
Antonio’s pace can embarrass full backs, or centre halves when he drags them out of position. Added Jones: “He’s a great outlet. If you’re the centre half and your full backs are pushing forward and Antonio drifts out wide, you don’t want to be out there.”