STEVE Butterworth admits Ollie Woodhouse’s suspension comes as a big blow to Great Wakering Rovers.

Wakering are set to welcome second-placed Grays Athletic to Burroughs Park for an Isthmian North clash tomorrow.

But Wakering will be without Woodhouse as the central defender was given his marching orders in the 5-3 FA Trophy preliminary round defeat to Westfield last weekend.

“We are without Ollie and it is a big blow for us,” said Wakering player-manager Butterworth, whose side are just two points adrift of the play-off places.

“They got given a penalty and then he was mucking about with the penalty spot, so the referee booked him.

“He must have said something to the referee because he then got sent off and it was a stupid red card.

“Ollie has been our best defender this season.

“He reads the game well, is very good aerially and covers a lot of ground.

“Marc Gorbell is back from a three-match ban, so that is good timing because he can come back in.”

Grays head to Burroughs Park having suffered back-to-back defeats before tasting victory at Romford in midweek.

But Butterworth feels Wakering are facing Grays at a dangerous time.

“They are not in the best of form and it would have been a good time to face them were it not for them making two big signings,” added Butterworth.

“George Purcell has joined them from Canvey Island and they have also signed Luke Callander.

“Both of them have played in the Isthmian Premier League for a number of years, so they have now potentially got the best two strikers in the division.

“That makes it an even bigger blow not having Ollie at the back this weekend, but we will pick a side capable of beating Grays and we have made a good start to the season ourselves.”