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Bradford City: I will keep it mean but clean, says Andrew Davies
Andrew Davies has vowed to clean up his act this season without toning down his tackling.
The City centre half was sent off three times last season during his otherwise impressive loan spell.
Davies could have no complaints for the post-game red card he received after the brawl with Crawley. But the others against Torquay and Swindon soon after he arrived from Stoke both appeared extremely harsh.
He sat out 12 games through suspension in total – and feels that referees are cracking down on challenges that would have warranted a lot less in the past.
Having played little football in the previous three seasons, Davies admits it was an eye-opener – but something he will learn from.
He said: “I can’t believe how the refs have changed their ways when you’ve been out of the game for a while.
“When I first joined Stoke, I made tackles like that, and at worse you got the occasional yellow card.
“But they have toughened up and you have to learn from your mistakes.”
A Youtube clip of Davies clattering Didier Drogba playing for Middlesbrough against Chelsea shows how attitudes have changed among officials.
“That’s a prime example. There wasn’t even a free-kick, the ref didn’t give anything.
“I was lucky on that score. If it happened now, I’d probably get a straight red.
“It’s hard. People always look at me and say I’m an old school centre half and would have fitted into that game very well.
“I can’t change the way I play. I like to be on the front foot.
“But I also understand I’ve got to be careful and I’ll be looking at that definitely.”
The extended period on the sidelines last term gave Davies plenty of time to think. And he has no intention of getting banned for long stretches this time.
He added: “Being sat out for six weeks of games was one of the most frustrating times in my career.
“I didn’t believe that any (of the sendings-off) were worth missing that amount of games. But I’ve got to learn from that.
“But it won’t make me change as a player. I want the same support from the fans I had last year and I’ll give them absolutely everything.
“There’s no chance that I’ll stop tackling. You won’t ever hear Andrew Davies say that.”