Pitch set to be playable for Hull visit but safety of fans a priority as big freeze continues
The freezing weather conditions have put a doubt over Town’s match against Hull at the weekend.
Town’s groundstaff have been working against the so-called Beast from the East to ensure that pitches can be used for training at Playford Road and that the Portman Road surface is playable.
The pitch is protected, with hot air blowers in use and providing there is no heavy snowfall late on Friday or on Saturday morning, it’s likely to be ready for the 3pm kick-off.
The safety of the supporters is the primary concern for the Club though, with the area surrounding the stadium frozen and no significant uplift in the temperatures predicted.
Inside the stadium, the big freeze has caused concerns as well with some toilets in the Sir Bobby Robson Stand frozen, and the snow that has been taken off the pitch now lying in the lower tiers around the stadium to allow the groundstaff access to the pitch.
“There are doubts over the game going ahead as we stand at the moment,” Town’s stadium manager, Greg Pillinger, told the Club website.
“The safety of the supporters is priority and if we can’t guarantee that with the conditions, then the game can’t go ahead.
“All the concourses and seating needs to be safe for the public to view the match along with the perimeter of the stadium and routes to and from bus stops, car parks and the railway station. This has involved consultation with the local authorities.
“Likewise the Police and the Highways Authority have been consulted for their views on the major road networks leading to and from Portman Road. “Importantly our own matchday staff, both stewards, catering and corporate all need to be able to get to the stadium safely and in the correct numbers, in particular the stewards to ensure we meet the minimum numbers to adhere to the Safety Certificate.
“So there is much more to it than getting the pitch playable but we are doing all we can to get the game on.”
With Hull set to travel late Friday afternoon, the likelihood of the game going ahead will be discussed at a meeting scheduled at Portman Road for the morning, with details to follow from that on the Club website and social media channels.