Derby County’s stand-in skipper Curtis Davies has pleaded with the club to stick by shamed drink-drive stars Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence.
Bennett and Lawrence have been charged with drink driving following a crash after a team-building session in a pub last week.
Derby captain Richard Keogh suffered a knee injury in the crash which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Davies wore the armband for Derby’s win over Birmingham City in the Championship on Saturday.
And while he said he did not condone the events of last Tuesday, he insisted the club must rally round the players involved and help them to make amends “to the fans and to the community”.
Davies said: “Right now we’re going to be under a massive spotlight.
“It’s about keeping the lads together. We can’t disown anyone, we need to keep everyone in and make sure everyone is doing the right things and we start building and moving on with football.
“We’ve always been a team, we’re a good unit and we make sure we stick together.
“I’m not condoning it, but I have to stand by them and help them to pay back to the fans and to the community.
“As players, we need to get round them to make sure they’re doing that and they can be part of our squad, and allow the fans to get that feeling back to them.”
Bennett and Lawrence were arrested after two 4x4s crashed in Allestree, Derbyshire on Tuesday.
They were both later charged with drink driving and are due to appear before magistrates at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Tuesday, October 15.
CCTV footage appeared to show the cars hurtling through the village seconds before they crashed at a T-junction, leaving Lawrence’s black Range Rover Sport crumpled against a road sign.
Snapchat videos filmed by Derby teammate Tom Huddlestone later surfaced online appearing to show Bennett vomiting into a pub urinal.
Bennett had appeared as a club ambassador at a Drinkaware event days before the crash.
A statement from the club last week read: “As a club, we cannot, and do not, condone the actions of a small group of players on Tuesday evening.
“They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.
“The players involved will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.
“They will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.”