Luton centre back Johnny Mullins knows full well his sending off at Wycombe came just at the wrong time for him.
The summer signing from Oxford United was beginning to establish a partnership with club captain Scott Cuthbert having started the last six games together.
You know if you come out the team for one game it could be hard, let alone four, so that’s just part and parcel of football.Johnny Mullins
But a late challenge on Scott Kashket saw Mullins suspended for four matches, due to it being his second red of the season, as he now faces a battle to win his spot back in the side.
Mullins said: “It came at the wrong time. Things happen in football, I had to take my medicine, it was a very frustrating time.
“But all I can do is now I’m back and in contention is keep working hard in training and hopefully I can get back in and stay in.
“Competition for places is fierce. You know if you come out the team for one game it could be hard, let alone four, so that’s just part and parcel of football.
“I’ve had to take it and now I’m looking to kick on again.”
The 31-year-old had initially been disappointed with the decision to be dismissed during the 1-1 draw, but having watched it back again, could have no complaints, as he continued: “At the time, yes, after looking at it again, no, I couldn’t have any dispute about it as I was off the ground.
“The only thing I was a bit annoyed about, I think if that was 10 minutes into the game, it wouldn’t have been a red card.
“But the timing of the game, the theatrics so to speak didn’t help, but I can’t blame anyone else.
“It was a poor touch with just a little lunge after it, so I’ve got to take my medicine and get on with it.”
In his absence, captain Scott Cuthbert continued his superb form this season, alongside Glen Rea and now Alan Sheehan, who has started the last two league games.
Mullins said: “Scotty’s been excellent, he just seems to be getting better and better and Sheez has come back in from injury and is playing really well at the minute.
“It’s only good. If you can get in the team, you’ve got to play well to stay in it.
“If you’re not in it, work hard, that can only be good for the football club, it really can.”
Hatters’ depth of talent at centre half is something that has clearly impressed Mullins since signing too, as he said: “You’ve got Glen in there as well who’s top drawer and then Frankie (Musonda) and Akin (Famewo).
“They’re real good prospects, pushing us every day, making sure we’re not resting on our laurels.
“Everywhere at this football club the competition is rife and I don’t think I’ve been at a club at this level where it’s been anywhere near that, so it’s good.
“It’s only going to benefit us coming into the end of the season, everyone’s pushing each other in every position.
“We’re on this run now and just want to keep going, maybe turn a few of the draws into wins and get into that top three.”
Speaking before Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy 3-2 defeat against Oxford United, Mullins, who played the full 90 minutes, had hoped to get another chance to stake his claim for a first team spot.
He added: “Fingers crossed (I’ll play), as all I can do is train hard and if selected, give everything I can to stay in the team.”