THE postponement of yesterday's game at Carlisle means the suspensions of Darlington's Barry Conlon and Mark Ford drag on, depriving manager Tommy Taylor of even more players.

Saturday's trip to Bristol Rovers sees both Phil Brumwell and Simon Betts banned, having picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season at Plymouth two weeks ago, meaning Quakers will be without four players through suspension.

Had either last Saturday's game with Cheltenham or yesterday's clash at Carlisle gone ahead, Ford would now be free from suspension as he has just one match to serve from his three-game ban, dating back to the infamous 7-1 defeat at Scunthorpe last month.

Conlon also saw red at Glanford Park but he's only served half of his four-match ban, meaning he'll miss Saturday's game, as well as the New Years Day fixture at home to Lincoln City.

But he'll be back for the FA Cup clash with Peterborough on January 5, more than a month since he last saw action.

The bans mean Taylor will struggle at right-back on Saturday will be interesting, especially as the players expected to fill that void, Steve Harper, had been earmarked to play in the left-back position.

This is because recognised left-back Paul Heckingbottom is the preferred choice to partner David Brightwell at the heart of defence, following Gary Caldwell's return to Newcastle last week.

The Brunton Park pitch was declared unfit after an inspection yesterday morning and denied Quakers the opportunity to win a Boxing Day fixture away from Feethams for the first time since 1978, when they won 3-2 at Doncaster.

No date has yet been rearranged for either Cheltenham or Carlisle but as Darlington have already been forced to switch the visit of Hartlepool to midweek (February 19) because of their involvement in the third round of the FA Cup, Quakers are facing a hectic fixture list.