Jim Bentley has told his Morecambe players they need to keep their discipline in the second half of the season.
The Shrimps’ face a second consecutive free Saturday this weekend with Accrington Stanley involved in the FA Cup, seven days on from their postponed match at Leyton Orient.
As well as causing a backlog of games for Bentley’s players, it also gives the manager an extra headache in terms of team selection.
Dean Winnard and Andy Fleming were both due to miss the Orient game through suspensions which will now carry over to the match at Doncaster Rovers on February 4.
Their dismissals take Morecambe’s number of red cards this season to five, three of which have come in the last six games following on from Alex Kenyon’s red card against Cheltenham Town.
“We’ve let ourselves down a little bit with ill discipline and a little bit of over enthusiasm,” Bentley admitted.
“It’s been hard because we’ve been down to the bare bones with our squad size and we can’t afford to miss key players.
“Alex Kenyon’s red card was for a petulant kick after a serious foul on him so that was human nature really.
“Andy Fleming didn’t need to do what he did with half-time a few minutes away and us leading 3-0; on another day it could have been a yellow.
“Dean Winnard’s red card at Carlisle was for two poor bookings but we’ve got Alex Kenyon back which is a boost for us.”
In Fleming’s case, Doncaster will be the second match of a three-game ban for his dismissal against Notts County on January 7.
That means he won’t have played for five-and-a-half weeks by the time his suspension expires for the Valentine’s Day game against Barnet.
The Shrimps are also running the risk of two more key players being suspended as Michael Rose has nine yellow cards this season and Ryan Edwards eight.
Should they reach 10 before the FA’s cut-off point of March 12 for the Football League, then they will have two-game bans.
Bentley said: “It’s all about professionalism and discipline and we’ve let ourselves down in that respect.
“We were mid-table in the disciplinary standings but we’ve got to tighten up and it’s something we’ve spoken to the players about.”