LEVI Sutton’s season so far has been more stop than start – he has missed more games than he’s played.

His outing last week in the Papa John’s Trophy against Oldham was only the midfielder’s fifth in City colours.

In contrast, he has already sat out seven others through suspension.

Sutton was Stuart McCall’s first signing of the summer but his former boss at Scunthorpe has not seen as much of the combative midfielder as he would have liked.

The 23-year-old’s campaign began with a delayed four-match ban as a result of being sent off for a second time last season in what proved to be his last Iron appearance against Grimsby.

Then, in just his third league game, Sutton saw red again for a lunging challenge at Barrow.

With that punishment now finally cleared up, he is hoping for the chance to finally build some momentum.

Not that Sutton will look to curtail his natural aggression on the pitch.

He said: “I’m going to keep going into tackles but I’ve just got to learn to be a bit cleverer.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I change my game completely.

“Ask a lot of football fans, they will tell you that tackling has gone out the game. You can’t fly in as much as you used to be able to.

“When I spoke to the gaffer about it, he was saying that in his day you’d probably get away with those ones.

“I think referees are a lot softer and players are cleverer.

“You saw when I got sent off that as soon as I make the tackle, he goes down rolling around. As soon I got the red card, he was straight back up.

“I’ve got full confidence in myself to be a starting player and improve this squad. I’ve just got to stop being so naïve.”

Sutton admitted he was very low after last month’s dismissal at Holker Street – which reduced City to 10 men before half-time in a 1-0 defeat.

“I’ve never felt that bad after a game before,” he said. “I was absolutely gutted because I’d let everybody down.

“The manager had put me straight back in after being injured and I felt that I’d let him down.

“In the situation we were in, I felt I’d let the whole team down and the fans who had paid to watch the game.

“It was just frustration and stupidity from me.

“I spoke to my family and people I knew and tried to get away from it. I felt sorry for myself for a few days but as I said to my mum and girlfriend, I’ve got to move on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

With Callum Cooke struggling to shake off a calf injury, Sutton could be pressed straight into action at Salford this weekend.

But despite his lack of regular football, he has come back into the squad up to speed thanks to Saturday sessions with Martin Drury.

Sutton believes the morning work-outs with City’s one-time assistant manager have been a huge benefit during his enforced lay-off – even if they do leave him exhausted afterwards.

He laughed that Drury has taken a leaf out of Marcello Bielsa’s book with his training routines.

“I love Martin’s sessions because most are technical as well as hard,” he added.

“He loves Leeds and Man City so he tries to put on similar sessions like they do.

“I enjoy them but I’m absolutely shattered afterwards!

“But I’d rather be in (the training ground) doing something that’s going to help my game than be stuck at home running.

“It’s only going to improve me being with him for an hour or two on a Saturday morning. It makes you sharper.”