Luke Murphy became the third player in seven league games to be sent off when he picked up a second bookable offence in the 4-3 home defeat against Burton Albion on New Year’s Day.
That followed dismissals for Jason Lowe against Shrewsbury and Josh Earl at Accrington, leading to suspensions which are stretching meagre playing resources within Hill’s squad.
But the Bolton boss says he does not want his players to tone down their approach, feeling red cards are more of an occupational hazard. “You have to make decisions and stick to them. I’d rather have a brave player than somebody who stands and watches from distance,” he told The Bolton News.
“You have to box clever in that situation. I don’t think there was an awful lot wrong in it – I think it was the big reaction that got him sent off.
“Again, he has been brilliant. Players do get sent off but I want them to be brave, I want them to commit, there’s not a lot we can do about it.
“There’s no point me having a word with him and saying ‘I would have done this, I would have done that’ – we’re all experts, at times. But ultimately they are in control of their situation and sometimes you make bad decisions.
“Coincidentally, it’s only a couple of weeks ago that Simon Marland told me that we have to circumnavigate the next two games with Jason Lowe and Luke Murphy both on four yellow cards. He mentioned those two names specifically, and now they are both out.”
Murphy’s red card was only the second in 12 seasons of professional football, his previous having come for Leeds United at Bradford City in 2014.
Previously, Lowe – handed a straight red on December 29 – had gone the entire of his 275-game career without being sent off.
Earl had been sent off once before, whilst playing for Preston against Swansea in January 2019.