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MANAGER: You can only control the controllable

Paul Simpson on this weekend's fixture postponement

9 December 2022

Club News

MANAGER: You can only control the controllable

Paul Simpson on this weekend's fixture postponement

9 December 2022

United boss Paul Simpson was typically philosophical about the postponement of the Saturday afternoon Barrow game as he pointed out that whilst you can do much about many things, some things will happen regardless.

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“We can’t do anything about the weather,” he commented. “There’s a wiser person than me that once said you can only control the controllables, and this is one of those things you simply can’t control.

“We’ve done everything we can as a club to get this game on. The club staff all did their bit in getting the covers on the pitch on Tuesday afternoon, along with the ground staff, because we saw what the forecast was and, with that in mind, we put the fleece lining on the vulnerable areas as well.

“The covers work as far down as -5 degrees or thereabouts, is what I’m told, but it’s obviously been a lot colder than that for long spells, particularly overnight.

“You just have to look around the whole country and you can see that it’s been biting cold weather just about everywhere.

“Sadly our game has suffered and it won’t surprise me to see a few more postponements with the way its going to be temperature wise between now and tomorrow.”

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Match referee Andrew Kitchen drive across from his north-east base to see the pitch first-hand, and he very quickly made the decision that the surface was unplayable, despite the remedial work that had been carried out.

“We have to get the referee over as soon as we can if there’s any kind of doubt,” he explained. “The last thing we want to be doing is messing people about, and that’s why, if it’s common sense to do so, we have to act.

“We delayed training because he was due to get here at 11am, until a decision was made, that determined what we were going to do in training.

“I’m sure the Barrow staff and players wanted the game on, and I certainly did. I said to the referee that I wanted the game on if there was any chance at all.

“The thing in today’s game now is the safety of the players, that’s the most important thing. That was taken into consideration as the highest priority.

“The other thing is that as we were heading out to go to training this morning and we could see that the surrounding areas are suffering, and the safety of your supporters has to come into it as well.

Ticket News


1 December 2022

“We don’t need accidents to fans or injuries to players, and in my opinion, as much as I wanted to play this game I think the referee has made a sensible call. It’s certainly one I agree with.”

Important in any working week in professional sport is the mindset, so we wondered if anything had changed with the players as they watched covers being put on both the main pitch and the training pitch.

“I don’t think it does affect the way they think because I’ve been saying to them all week that the covers were on and the game was going ahead,” he explained. “Sadly we just can’t legislate for worse than -5 degrees of cold weather.

“You have to remember that it’s also as the day goes on, with the temperature barely getting above zero, so it isn’t getting a chance to recover.

“We have to accept how it is even though we wanted the game on. It was one to look forward to, with both teams up at the top end of the table, a big crowd and the points to battle for. We just have to make sure we’re ready for whenever it gets rearranged.”

And it’s certainly been a week where the squad had to roll with it, with Tuesday as an example yet again of how no plan survives first contact with the enemy, with the training session at Gretna called off just minutes before the squad was due to set off across the border.

“I’ve said it so many times, you just have to get on with it,” he insisted. “We thought Gretna would be ok on Tuesday but when the staff got up there to set up they called in to say that it probably wasn’t totally safe.

“You have to think quickly and go for a plan Z, so we changed things up and we did something else in the Neil Sports Centre.

“Being honest, that threw me a little bit because with the game being on, as things stood then, I really wanted to be doing some 11v11 work on that day.

“All you can do is accept it, and we knew we’d managed to get Harraby for today so that was going to be an opportunity to have a good session.

“We would have been ready for the game whatever, and I’m really grateful that Harraby were prepared to let us use their facility.

“It was a more physical session today than it would have been had the game been on. With it being off I can now use this little period to get some good sessions into them.

“The way we taper the week is that we work towards match day, so we’ll have them in tomorrow and we’ll ramp it up, as we did today.

“We’ll work them hard, and we’ll start again on Monday with preparing to play Northampton. Hopefully the weather down there will be favourable, even though we’ve been told that it’s not destined to be great at the end of the week.

“Let’s just hope that because we’re down south it’s a little bit of a different and better climate.”

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