Norwich City boss Lambert left to reflect on wasted journeys
Canaries boss Paul Lambert spared a thought for the families of players and fans alike yesterday after City's game at Crystal Palace fell victim to the weather.
Many supporters were halfway through their journey by the time news began to filter through that referee Danny McDermid's 8.30am pitch inspection had ruled the Selhurst Park pitch unplayable because of frost.
The London club is one of the few in the top two flights of English football that does not have undersoil heating and while covers had protected the pitch from the worst of frost last week, it was the Christmas Day night temperature drop which did the damage.
A statement on the Palace website said: 'The club made extensive efforts to get the match on despite the frozen temperatures and snowfall this week in the south-east, with covers being installed throughout the week. The overnight temperatures resulted in a heavy frost which left the pitch unplayable.' It left Lambert rueing wasted preparations.
'We're disappointed to be honest with you,' he said. 'Disappointed for the fans, players and staff who have given up their time only for the game to be called off.
'I just think it's a shame the decision couldn't somehow have been made earlier, bearing in mind Palace haven't got undersoil heating. But it's not Palace or anyone's fault, it's just the weather.
'The lads and the staff were in training on Christmas night getting ready for this match and both them and the fans who started making the journey from Norfolk could have had some more time with their families, especially at this time of year, but that's the way it goes. Luckily we have a game fairly quickly against Sheffield United at Carrow Road on Tuesday – and unless there is an avalanche of snow I would have thought that one will go ahead due to the undersoil heating we've got.'
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Tickets will be valid for the rearranged game, although a new date has yet to be agreed.
Palace wasn't the only ground affected: Championship games due to take place at Middlesbrough and Scunthorpe were called off on Friday while Ipswich's home fixture with Watford was a late casualty due to a frozen pitch (see Page 7).
Yesterday's Premier League matches at Blackpool and Everton were also called off. Blackpool's match against Liverpool, scheduled for a 3pm kick-off, was postponed after overnight temperatures of minus nine degrees meant a scheduled midday inspection was brought forward to 10am because of concerns about the Bloomfield Road pitch, which does not have undersoil heating. Despite covers and hot-air blowers being employed over the last few days an assessment of the playing surface showed there was no possibility of play. It is the third home match in succession this month that Blackpool have had to postpone because of the weather, having already had to move matches against Manchester United and Tottenham.
Everton's game against Birmingham was called off, the club reporting there were 'several miles of frozen pipes, many of which burst during the course of Christmas Day night'.