BOTH Witton Albion and 1874 Northwich are set to head into the Christmas period without key players due to suspension.

Albion midfielder Billy Smart is facing a three-match ban after his red card during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Radcliffe.

Smart was dismissed for a dangerous challenge and as well as Saturday’s home game against Whitby, he is set to miss the Boxing Day trip to Warrington Town and the clash with Nantwich Town on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, 1874 are weighing up whether or not to appeal top scorer Scott McGowan’s sending-off during Tuesday’s win at Ashton Athletic.

Having scored what turned out to be the only goal in the 1-0 victory at Brocstedes Park, McGowan was dismissed for violent conduct before half time.

If the suspension stands, the striker will be absent for the Greens’ trip across town to face Northwich Victoria in the Boxing Day ‘derby,’ which would be the first of the three matches for which he would be suspended.

However, 1874 co-boss Wayne Goodison is hopeful video evidence will absolve his prolific frontman of any wrongdoing.

“Scott is a big part of what we do, but we’ve played games without him before,” he said.

“We’ve got guys who can come in and cover for him.

“What we’re unsure about is what the referee’s deemed to have took place, neither bench saw it as that.

“We’ll look and see if there’s anything on the video that’s different to what he says he’s seen and go from there.”

n Witton, 1874 and Vics columns, page 47