MATCH PREVIEW: Suspended Sam to miss out

Sam Smith will be the major absentee on Saturday as Reds host Hanley Town in NPL West at Borough Park (3pm).

The long serving defender will start a four-match suspension following his late  dismissal against Macclesfield last week.

The club intended to appeal the decision but decided not to because the video evidence was inconclusive.

Other than Sam’s absence, manager Danny Grainger will check the fitness of a couple off players before naming his starting XI for the return fixture against Ryan Shotton’s side.

Back in October, Reds won 2-1 in the Potteries thanks to a couple of sublime David Symington strikes and that after an unfortunate Dan Wordsworth own-goal had given Town the lead.

After the high-profile fixture against the leaders, it will be a return to normality this weekend as Reds’ enter the last two months of another fine season.

They have just nine league matches remaining, four at home and five away but, hopefully, there will be two play-off games to tag-on during the last week of April. 

Hanley, who will make their longest ever journey for a league match, have endured a tough first season at Step 4.  They are currently in 19th position in the division but their away form this term hasn’t been a problem.  Six wins and two draws on the road has earned them 20 points compared to just 9 on home soil.

Already, they have won at Northwich, Bootle, Colne, Glossop, Kidsgrove and Ramsbottom so will have no fears about coming to west Cumbria.

Workington will have to win all nine remaining fixtures to equal last season’s tally of 84 points yet, whilst that seems unlikely, they are still strong favourites to finish in the top five. 

  • Reds will also be at home on Tuesday as they host the Fred Conway Cumberland Cup quarter-final tie v. Carlisle United. 

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