Here's why three Sunderland players are dangerously close to a one-game ban
Three Sunderland players are treading on thin ice as they aim to avoid a one-game suspension.
As per EFL rules, any player picking up five yellow cards will be subject to a one-game suspension which must be served in the league game immediately following the one in which the fifth yellow card was received.
And there are several Black Cats players already close to racking up five yellow cards after the club's eight league outings so far.
Lee Cattermole is the player in most immediate danger, with the tough-tackling midfielder just one caution away from a ban after picking up bookings in his appearances against Gillingham, Oxford, Fleetwood and Burton.
LIVE: Fitness boost for Jack Ross as Ndong nears exit deadlineAdam Matthews could also be in line for a one-game suspension having picked up three bookings this season.
The Welsh international was cautioned while featuring against Scunthorpe, Fleetwood and Burton and would face a ban should he rack up another two cards.
Similarly, Jack Baldwin has also been booked three times and will need to be wary to avoid any further sanctions.
READ: Your questions on Charlie Wyke, new signings and Josh Maja answeredA suspension to any of these players, even for just one game, would prove a blow to Jack Ross with all three having featured regularly this season.
There is, however, a chance that the trio could get away without a ban if they can stay out of the referee's book in the long-term.
Players must pick up the five yellow cards within their club's first 19 games to receive the one-game suspension, meaning that Cattermole, Matthews and Baldwin could avoid further punishment if they can reach that point without being booked.
QUIZ: How well do you remember Sunderland's start to the season?Sunderland's 19th league fixture of the season comes away at Walsall on November 24, meaning the three players will need to wait two months before knowing they have escaped punishment.
For Cattermole in particular that could prove tricky, with the midfielder having to go 11 games without a caution to see his suspension worries fade.
If any of the trio are booked in an FA Cup or Checkatrade Trophy fixture, these will not count towards the tally of five with bookings becoming competition-specific as of this season.
MORE: This is why Jack Ross must trust his attacking instinct more than everThe Black Cats will also need to be wary of the next cut-off date, which applies to players with ten bookings.
Any player who picks up a total of ten bookings before Sunderland's 37th league game of the season - which comes against Barnsley on March 12 - will be subject to a two-game ban.
Cattermole's four bookings so far will count towards that total of ten, meaning he could be on thin ice in the long-term too.