LOYAL Steve Connors has been dealt a bitter blow after signing a new contract to stay at Wincham Park despite attractive offers coming from elsewhere.
Connors, who turned down the chance to join promotion contenders Marine, has learnt that he will now be suspended for Witton Albion's trip to Altrincham for the Cheshire Senior Cup final.
The snow and ice which caused the postponement of the game against Radcliffe Borough at the weekend has seemingly cost Connors his place.
The talented midfielder would have served the first of a two-match ban against Radcliffe, but will now be banned for Saturday's home league game against Burscough and Tuesday's final against Stalybridge Celtic at Moss Lane (7.45pm kick-off).
Connors said: 'I have had a few injuries and Witton have stood by me, so now I am standing by them.
'Jim (Vics) and Benny (Phillips) are doing a good job and brought in good players. There are some good times ahead for Witton.
'But I am sick about the final. There's nothing I can do about it now, but I'll try not to get booked as often in future.'
Manager Jim Vince said: 'I am delighted he is staying at Witton - he is a quality player.
'To lose him for the final is a blow to us and him, but it is a stark example of what players can lose through chalking up bookings.'
Vince has recruited three new players, all from Droylsden, and all will be eligible to face Stalybridge.
They are former Northwich Vics and Congleton Town centre back Gary Burke, officially club captain at Droylsden but unable to force his way into a side bidding for the Conference North play-offs, and Neil Hall, who had a spell at Witton under Mike McKenzie in the 1990s after joining from Winsford United.
Both men can be recalled by Droylsden, however.
The third signing from the Bloods is goalkeeper John Worsnop on a month's loan.
Vince hopes all three will settle permanently at Witton, but in the short term he has to cover for the return to Hyde of keeper Mark Westhead, the absence of cup tied Sam McNutt, Darren Hockenhull and the injured Liam McGuire, who is two weeks away from full fitness.
By this time next week Albion could be back in the hunt for a play-off place and boasting a trophy in the boardroom.
'We will give it everything,' said Vince. 'I have brought some quality players in and have competition for places. We are not far away from being Conference North quality.
'That is what Stalybridge are. They are not in a league higher by accident. We have to match their workrate and commitment and then we will have a good chance.'
Other ex-Vics men at Celtic are Steve Garvey and Mark Barnard. They were beaten 1-0 at North-wich recently where Vince learned they were a 'strong and very route one' side.
The final will be played to a conclusion with penalties if necessary.