Pompey boss cools fears over Boxing Day washout

Guy Whittingham at Fratton Park. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124044-013)
Guy Whittingham at Fratton Park. Picture: Allan Hutchings (124044-013)

Gaffer: Surreal experience but a deserved Pompey win

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Guy Whittingham has played down fears that Pompey’s Boxing Day clash could be the next weather victim.

The Blues saw their League One trip to basement boys Hartlepool called off because of a waterlogged pitch at around 9am on Saturday – long after many fans had already left the south coast for the 650-mile round trip.

But with Crawley Town due to visit as part of the festive programme, the caretaker boss has been encouraged by the Fratton Park groundsman that the pitch will be playable.

Whittingham said: ‘We think it will be okay for Boxing Day.

‘I spoke to the groundsman and he is confident it will be okay.

‘The weather is meant to ease off a bit and everyone will be working hard to make sure the game is on. We’re desperate to play.’

While the Victoria Park postponement left Whittingham understandably frustrated, he felt it was the correct decision by the referee and could not have been made any sooner than it was.

He said: ‘We weren’t surprised but it was frustrating and disappointing the game was off.

‘I was there at 8am when the referee made the first inspection.

‘He was very conscious of the travelling fans coming up.

‘His thoughts and the groundsman’s thoughts were to give it an hour and see if puddles started forming.

‘I thought that was the right thing to do.

‘At 9am, there weren’t that many puddles on the pitch but when you put your foot down in certain areas the water came up either side of your foot and wasn’t getting any better.

‘It’s frustrating but it was undoubtedly the right decision and I think it was also done as early as possible.

‘We all wanted the game to go ahead, so we had to give it a chance.’