Catlin lifts lid on Pompey friendly cancellation

Eastleigh's Silverlake Stadium
Eastleigh's Silverlake Stadium
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Mark Catlin reflected on the decision to cancel Pompey’s friendly at Eastleigh and insisted: We didn’t want to take risks.

The Blues today pulled out of Saturday’s scheduled fixture following concerns over the recently relaid Silverlake Stadium pitch.

There was the potential it wouldn’t be fit or could fail to be 100 per cent this coming Saturday, so we took the decision with Eastleigh to err on the side of caution

Mark Catlin

On Monday, coach Robbie Blake and Pompey’s groundsman inspected the playing surface in the aftermath of AFC Wimbledon calling off their trip to the non-leaguers at the weekend.

It prompted the Blues to follow suit – immediately replacing the match with a visit to Bognor on Saturday (1.30pm).

And Pompey’s chief executive is adamant it was the right decision.

Catlin said: ‘Like everyone else, we heard the news that Wimbledon had cancelled so we spoke to Eastleigh and scheduled our own site visit.

‘Robbie Blake and our groundsman went down on Monday and it was clear there would be doubts over the pitch this Saturday.

‘That is not to say the game couldn’t have gone ahead, because it could. But at this time of the season you just don’t want to take any risks.

‘There was the potential it wouldn’t be fit or could fail to be 100 per cent this coming Saturday, so we took the decision with Eastleigh to err on the side of caution and pull out of the game.

‘While it looks great because it is a new pitch, there was a concern that the roots underneath hadn’t had time to bed in with the soil.

‘So, apparently, when you put a foot on it there was a chance of slippage.

‘I speak quite regularly to Bognor general manager Jack Pearce. He is a great guy, and once the game was in doubt he was quite keen to step in and plug the gap for us, so fair play to Bognor.

‘We have a good relationship and we’re looking forward to the game.’