Captain Tommy Rowe says Doncaster Rovers have developed a nasty streak and has warned their League One rivals: ‘Don’t mess with us!’
Rovers were one of only two sides in the division not to have a player sent off last season and have faced accusations of being ‘too nice’.
But there has been a marked change this term.
By collecting 14 bookings in their opening five games of the season, Rovers have gone from the top of the Fair Play table to the bottom.
“I think we’ve had a bit of nastiness about us,” said Rowe.
“We’ve had quite a few yellow cards and it’s not because we’ve been petulent, it’s because we’ve got a steeliness to fight for things a bit more.
“You don’t want to be getting red cards but we want to show teams that they can’t mess us about because we’re young lads.”
He added: “I talked last year about lads stepping up and I think that’s something they have done this year.
“Some of the young lads are showing some good early signs of developing and getting that nastiness.
“It’s about being football-savvy.”
Andy Butler has been booked four times already and Ben Whiteman has collected three yellow cards.
Rovers host early pacesetters Portsmouth on Saturday hoping to return to winning ways.