NUFC captain Fabricio Coloccini walks suspension tightrope

FLASHPOINT ... referee Mike Dean explains himself to United captain Fabricio Coloccini.

FLASHPOINT ... referee Mike Dean explains himself to United captain Fabricio Coloccini.

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FABRICIO Coloccini is walking a disciplinary tightrope between now and the end of the year.

Newcastle United’s inspirational captain picked up his fourth booking of the season in Wednesday night’s defeat to West Bromwich Ablion

And Coloccini will be hit with an automatic one-game ban if he’s shown a yellow card in either of the club’s next two games, the Boxing Day visit to Bolton Wanderers and the fixture against Liverpool at Anfield on December 30.

However, the slate will be wiped clean after December 31, though should any player acrue 10 bookings by the second Sunday in April, they will be hit with a two-match suspension.

United manager Alan Pardew was without midfielder Yohan Cabaye for the West Brom game, and his absence was keenly felt.

Pardew admits he can ill-afford to be without Coloccini, even for one game, but he won’t tell the 29-year-old to play any differently.

“Colo’s very important, but you can’t legislate for (bookings),” Pardew told SportMail.

“He has to be committed in the challenge, and hopefully the referee doesn’t deem that it’s a yellow card.

“I won’t tell him to play any differently.”

FULL STORY IN FRIDAY’S MAIL ...