Shrews Chief: Small Areas of the Pitch Hardened Up
Saturday, 13th Feb 2021 15:32
Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell has explained the reasons why today’s game against the Blues was called off with referee Lee Swabey feeling that some small sections of the pitch were unplayable, and also why plans for it to be rescheduled for tomorrow fell through.
“At a quarter-to-10 this morning it looked OK,” Caldwell said. “I spoke to the referee, explained where we were at, that we trying to keep the covers on as long as possible because of the minus temperatures.
“We lifted the covers off at 11 o’clock and the referee came at a quarter-to-12 once they were off. He went over the pitch and he thought it was playable.
“There was a slight concern about a couple of areas about another couple of areas which were firmer than other areas, but bizarrely between him having a look around at a quarter-to-12 and half-one, two o’clock-ish, the pitch actually hardened up in other areas as well.
“It was worse despite the temperature getting to a positive, to plus one, the pitch got worse in certain smaller areas.
“It is very confined areas, on the far side there was an obvious bit of a problem, it was a bit harder and he just felt for players’ safety it was the right thing to do.
“The majority of the pitch, 95 per cent, perhaps five per cent has actually got worse. It’s quite unusual to see that when the temperature rises, that the pitch actually worsens.”
He added: “It’s very difficult, we tried to give everything as much chance as we could and to be fair to the referee, he came along and was very helpful, he walked the pitch with me at a quarter-to-12 today and was quite happy with things, but he wanted to monitor it between then and three o’clock.
“If there’s one benefit from not having supporters and people not travelling to games, it’s that we were able to give it as much chance as we possible could.
“But it’s just because of the temperatures and the pitch hardening in very small areas that players’ safety has to come first.
“Sometimes it is difficult coming from soft ground to hard ground, I get that. At the end of the day we have to look after the players even if it is a very small portion of the pitch.”
Caldwell says plans to reschedule the game for tomorrow fell through due to Town not being able to sort hotel accommodation with the two clubs discussing the issue at length after the postponement was confirmed.
“The delay has partly been because we spoke to Ipswich about playing tomorrow, for them to stay in a hotel tonight and try and play the game tomorrow, the EFL was happy with us trying to do,” he said.
“Ipswich stayed locally last night, which made it easier for us to hold on as long as possible today. They stayed locally last night, obviously the hotel opened up for them and brought chefs in especially, so it was short notice for them to get another [night’s] hotel accommodation and I think they just decided it was probably better that they prepare better for a Tuesday night game when we play it at some point later on in the season.”
That game won’t take place until April with both clubs having no shared spare Tuesdays before then.
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