Revealed: The Sunderland player walking a disciplinary tightrope after FA rule change

Sunderland midfielder George Dobson is precariously close to a two-game ban – after picking up another yellow card in the defeat at Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 1:30 pm

EFL rules state that players will receive a two-game ban after receiving ten yellow cards in the league, and Dobson is now approaching that threshold.

However, after a recent rule change by the Football Association, the Sunderland man has some extra leeway as a suspension approaches.

The midfielder has received 12 yellow cards throughout the season, but two of those were in the December draw with Blackpool where Dobson was dismissed and, as such, they are not included in the EFL’s calculations when dishing out suspensions.

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Sunderland midfielder George Dobson is walking a disciplinary tightrope

That leaves Dobson on ten yellow cards, however, one of those was dished out in the EFL Trophy win over Grimsby Town. Recent FA rule changes mean that bookings are now ‘competition-specific’ – meaning that a League One ban can only be handed out for cautions received in league games.

Therefore, Dobson is technically on nine bookings in League One, leaving him one caution away from a ban.

Chris Maguire (seven bookings), Max Power (five bookings) and Conor McLaughlin (five bookings) are all also in danger of a two-game suspension should they hit ten bookings.

The cut-off point for suspensions for accruing ten bookings comes after sides have played 37 league games, meaning Sunderland’s players will be treading on thin ice for the next nine league games – as the Black Cats continue to play catch-up.