Graham Westley has demanded that Paul Coutts show a better attitude after taking the Preston North End captaincy away from him.
The Scottish midfielder misses tomorrow’s home clash with Brentford after collecting his 10th booking of the campaign at Yeovil last week which triggered a two-match suspension.
But Coutts won’t get the armband back when he returns to action – Westley wants him to concentrate on his playing duties.
This week, the PNE boss told Coutts to spend a couple of days away from the club to ‘get his head together’.
And on his return, Westley wants to see the Scotsman adopt a ‘wholehearted’ approach.
The background for this seems to have been a conversation the pair had on the eve of the Leyton Orient game in which Coutts discussed the possibility of handing in a transfer request.
Westley said: “I will be honest you. I have been very disappointed in Paul since I have been here.
“There was a lot of speculation and I had a long conversation with him before the Leyton Orient game on the Friday night about whether he was going to put in a transfer request or not.
“Look, he was the captain of this football club, and on the Friday night I should not have been having a conversation with him about that.
“I told him this week that I’m going to take the captaincy away from him and let him concentrate on his playing duties.
“He has got to get himself focused and get himself right.
“I don’t care if a player has got this talent, that talent or the other talent. I believe in the team. I want players who want to play for the team.
“Any professional player needs to get into his mind that the club who employs him is paying his wages and that fans are paying good money to give players a great living.
“Couttsy needs to get his mind around the job he has to do.
“He is a wonderful talent and I’m looking forward to working with him – I hope I can get the best out of him.
“I hope he is prepared to knuckle down and get on with things in a constructive way for the good of the club and team.
“This week I sent him away for a couple of days.
“I told him to spend some time on his own, get his head together.
“When he walks back through the door and walks into my office, I want him to tell me that he can play in a wholehearted way for this club.
“Until he does, I don’t want him around the place.
“Any decent pro should be able to look his manager in the eye and say, ‘You are going to get every ounce which is in my body’.
“Couttsy needs to be able to do that.”
Westley is yet to decide who will wear the skipper’s armband against Brentford.
Coutts is one of two players suspended tomorrow, with centre-half Craig Morgan sitting out the Bees’ visit after his early red card at Yeovil.
There are fitness doubts over Andy Procter and Adam Barton.
New signings Chris Robertson, Rhys Murphy and Graham Cummins will all come into contention.