Published 22/12/2006 | 10:47
Willo McDonagh last night used a single word to sum up his feelings after learning that he will miss the biggest league game of the season so far: " gutted."
The Glentoran midfielder received an unwanted present when he was hit with a two-match suspension, which will kick in on Christmas Day.
The ban was handed out after he broke the penalty points threshold and not only is the Dubliner suspended for the Big Two battle against Linfield at Windsor Park on Boxing Day, he will also have to sit out the game against Portadown at the Oval on Saturday week,
McDonagh is the only player from Glentoran or Linfield to be receive a festive suspension and he will now be out of action until the Glens face Ballymena United on Tuesday January 2.
"I am absolutely gutted that I have been suspended because I was looking forward to being involved in two really big games," said McDonagh, when the news of the ban was broken to him by the Belfast Telegraph.
"I can hardly find words to explain how badly I feel that I will be missing the match.
"I knew that there was a chance I would be in the next round of suspensions, but I was hoping they wouldn't come out until after Christmas and I would escape for the time being.
"I have played in a few games against Linfield now, including the Irish Cup final, but I have never played in a Boxing Day match and I'm told they are extra special matches.
"Some people might look upon it as me having a chance to enjoy Christmas now without having to worry about the match the next day, but I would far rather be playing against Linfield.
"It is a real kick in the teeth for me after I've played in almost every game this season, but there is nothing I can do about it now other than take the punishment and get on with things.
"I will still be there to cheer the boys on and I think there is enough quality in the team without me to go and get the three points to stretch our lead at the top of the table."
While McDonagh is missing for the Glens, Linfield have a doubt surrounding one of their midfield stars.
Michael Gault limped out of Windsor Park on Tuesday night after the County Antrim Shield semi-final defeat at the hands of Lisburn Distillery.
He has had trouble walking since and faces a race against time to be fit to face the Glens.
Meanwhile Linfield have made extra tickets in the Alex Russell Stand available and they can be purchased at Windsor Park.