Newcastle's £6million summer buy misses Monday's clash with Tottenham as he has already picked up five yellow cards this season.
And Big Sam wants him to steer clear of trouble without taking away the natural aggression.
The Toon boss said: "You can't take the devilment out of him or you lose some of the player but there is something about staying on your feet.
"That's rather than over-indulging and lunging because today it doesn't matter if it is a good tackle or a bad tackle.
"It is in the rules you can tackle that way but it is in the minds of almost every referee.
"If Alan can just curb it a bit, that would help.
"Three suspensions this year equals four to six games and that is why we need him to show a little bit more self control."