Match postponed because of a frozen pitch
Today’s game against Portsmouth has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.
The decision was made by referee Kevin Johnson after he carried out an inspection at the Checkatrade Stadium at 9am. He considered the condition of the pitch and the weather conditions for the rest of the day. Temperatures are not forecast to rise above 2 degs. C.
Pitch protection covers had been in place since early on Thursday and additionally the club employed specialist hot-air blowers during Friday on the area at the southern end which does not benefit from direct sunlight in winter.
Operations Director Kelly Derham said: “We’re absolutely devastated to lose our first game since 2014 but the elements have beaten us unfortunately.
“The pitch is well grassed but the frost has got into the ground and the southern end was a particular concern for the referee, who has the safety of the players as his priority.
“We had hot-air blowers working on that area on Friday and through the night but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
“We had a team of here until 11.30pm on Friday and I would like to thank Reds fans Dan Brown, Dan Punt, Mark Gilbert, Craig Derham and Ken Blackmore who assisted us during much of the day as well as the backroom staff at the club, who were there until late in the evening working hard to try and get the game on.
“Frost covers protect to a temperature of -3 but for the last two nights it has been -7 degrees inside the stadium, hence our decision to employ a hot-air system to see if that would help us, at considerable expense to the club, on Friday.
“We will now carry out a full consultation with our grounds team, a policy we have instigated this season, to see what we could have done differently to ensure we are as protected as much as we can against adverse weather. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the elements have beaten us on this occasion.”
The club will consult with Portsmouth next week and a new date will be announced as soon as possible, together with ticket exchange information for supporters unable to attend when the fixture is rearranged.