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GAME OFF REACTION: There's nothing we could do

Bradford encounter falls foul of the weather

21 January 2023

United’s away game at Valley Parade was called off following a noon pitch inspection which deemed large areas of the surface to be unplayable following very low overnight temperatures and freezing fog, which lingered through the morning, denying the forecast sunshine any chance of bringing a thaw.

When speaking to assembled officials at the stadium, match referee Will Finnie pointed out that his top priority was player safety.

Saturday’s man in the middle had carried out a pre-check on Friday, where 95% of the surface was in a good condition.

He mentioned that the cover of the fog, combined with lower-than-expected overnight temperatures, had left larger areas in an unsatisfactory condition.

“Player safety is paramount,” he said. “Had the surface been playable at 12pm today we could have gone ahead.

“It isn’t, so we’ve taken the decision to call it off knowing it’s extremely unlikely that it will improve.”

Assistant manager Gav Skelton said: “The pitch was borderline in too many areas so the referee had no choice.

“Obviously it’s not ideal for us, with us having travelled and arrived in Bradford, and with the players having their pre-match meal as the inspection was going on.

“There’s nothing we can do about it, it’s all about getting back and looking ahead to Tuesday night now.”

Manager Paul Simpson said: “For us it’s just how it is, there’s nothing we can do to affect it.

“The indication from the referee on Friday was that the game was on and our preparation then, and this morning, was for a game that was kicking off at 3pm.

“We now switch focus, but what I will say is that we all really feel for the fans.

“With the timing of the postponement many of them will either have been here, or at least within shouting distance.

“Obviously it’s beyond the control of anyone at the club, we don’t get any input into when or how these decisions are made, and we can only say thank you to all of them for their efforts.

“They’re bound to be frustrated, and we share that frustration with them.”

We’ll be getting more reaction from the manager at his Monday afternoon press conference.

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