City boss Paul Lambert expressed his disappointment after today’s clash at Walsall was postponed less than an hour before kick-off.
The Banks’s Stadium pitch was deemed to be unsafe at around 2.05pm and for nearly 2,000 travelling Norwich supporters, it was a wasted journey.
But with pockets of the pitch just too hard due to the recent frost, referee Mark Haywood said that player safety had to come first.
“Some of it is pretty fine but there are other bits that are really firm and the referee calls it the way he sees it. The far away corner is hard as concrete,” said Paul Lambert afterwards, talking to the club’s official website.
“I think it’s because the sun doesn’t get to certain parts of the pitch here so it’s extra firm in these conditions.
“It’s always disappointing , plus you’ve got nearly 2,000 people to watch you and coming in their droves a long way so you really feel for them, it’s disappointing for the fans we bring.
“Their ground staff have done their best to be fair to them to defrost it. But it’s not proven to be enough with the weather that we’ve got.
“This morning the fog was dense as well, so yes there may be more ways to make sure fans don’t travel a long way for a match that never takes place.”
And with a three-hour coach journey back to Norfolk on the cards, long-serving City defender Adam Drury echoed the Scot’s sentiment.
“It’s a disappointment really,” said the Canary stalwart, speaking to the press after the decision was made.
“We got prepared as normal and before we went in and did the teamsheet we came and had a look at it first and could see there were some hard patches and the far end hasn’t had the sun on it and there were burners on it.
“We knew straight away there was going to be some doubt about it and as it got closer we heard it had been called off by the referee in terms of the safety of the players.
“For the fans who’ve travelled all this way it’s massively disappointing like it is for ourselves, because it’s a long way to come and to call it off at the last minute, but I suppose the delay was to give it the best chance possible – it’s unfortunate.
“Obviously with the temperature dropping the closer you get to kick-off it was always going to be a struggle.
“It’s one of those things – we’re gutted but with where we are in the league we don’t want to take any chances with games and get any injuries.
“I can see why the referee has called the game off but at the same time it’s disappointing for all those that travelled it was so late in the day.”
The club have confirmed that all City supporters can claim a refund on their match ticket and those who travelled via the club’s coach service can also get their money back. Please contact Norwich City football club for details.