CARL Macauley has confirmed his faith in Billy Smart and believes the midfielder will play an integral part in the remainder of Witton Albion’s season.

The 23-year-old returns after a ban, his third of the campaign, for tomorrow afternoon’s encounter with Lancaster City in the Northern Premier League’s top-flight.

After missing nine games so far through suspension since arriving at Wincham Park from Marine last summer, he does so with a point to prove.

Macauley said: “It’s a massive plus for us to have him back.

“He’s been gutted not to be involved and to be unable to help out his teammates.

“I’m confident that he’ll learn from what’s happened, and he has to.”

Smart was sent off on the opening day of the season after tangling with Carl Finnigan during the closing stages of a 2-1 defeat at South Shields.

A second dismissal followed when Witton beat Lancaster in November, again for violent conduct.

An appeal by the club to the Football Association was rejected and he sat out four games as punishment.

He has missed the past two matches as an additional sanction for comments he made to referee Kristian Silcock after Albion’s 1-0 win against the Dolly Blues.

A £300 fine accompanied the latest judgement too.

He has been disciplined by the club too.

Macauley said: “He’s been hammered, but it’s unprofessional to say what he did to a match official.

“Billy has to bite his tongue; off of us get frustrated, and the test is how we handle it.”

Frustratingly for Witton, Smart had started to produce his best form in their colours before the latest suspension and was a contender for the club’s player of the month prize in December.

And the quirk of his return coinciding with a return against Lancaster should add to his motivation.

Macauley said: “He’s the perfect player for a game like this one.”