Tony Mowbray has hailed the discipline of his midfield enforcer Richie Smallwood as "amazing" after the Rovers number 6 finally passed the cut off point for a 10th booking of the season.
It's been an arduous 2018 for Smallwood, who knew a two-game ban would be the result of picking up another booking - the problem was he had 13 games to negotiate without a card.
Richie himself admitted he had that in the back of his mind when speaking to iFollow Rovers after the game, and his boss confessed he has been shocked to see his midfield man get through those games with a clean slate each time.
“It’s amazing. If you think about the nine bookings he picked up in the first games, to have the discipline in his football to know when to put his foot in is fantastic," the boss told iFollow Rovers after the win against Blackpool.
"He’s a competitive footballer who likes to get stuck in and win tackles, he gets into the team because he’s a warrior. I’ve spoken about artists and soldiers at this club, and he’s definitely a soldier, but the discipline to not get booked for so long is fantastic.
"He’s passed that window I think, where the next booking won’t get him a two-game ban, so I’m pretty sure he’ll get one against Gillingham! I have to give him great credit."
Tony always knew Smallwood would do it though, right?...
“I’d have to say, I didn’t believe he could survive all these games without getting booked! I thought it was inevitable so I rotated the midfield a bit with Corry [Evans] and [Elliott] Bennett in there, to make sure that when his suspension came that we had players who knew what the role was about," he added.
"Yet, Richie has got through those games and will look forward to next week."
We've nine games to go and the next one comes at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium next Saturday. Tickets remain for the clash and you can purchase yours by clicking here.