Snow joke for Cotterill

Sylvain Deslandes could play at left-back if Dion Donohue is switched to midfield

Pompey boss encouraged by ‘good options’

Steve Cotterill has called for the festive football programme to be slashed after Pompey again fell foul of the snow.

The Blues suffered their second successive Fratton Park postponement when Saturday's clash with Scunthorpe was hit by the wintry weather.

Heavy early-morning snow prompted referee Graham Salisbury to call off the match at 8.30am.

But matchless Pompey weren't alone at the weekend, with 34 Football League matches cancelled in total.

Next up is Millwall on Boxing Day, which kick-starts a spell of four matches in nine days during a busy festive period. That also consists of Leeds (December 28), Watford (January 1) and Hull (January 3).

And the likelihood is they are also set to be affected by December's Arctic-like conditions.

For Cotterill, it is a period of the season which is already far too congested.

Now, with the winter weather having an increased impact, the calendar has been left in chaos.

And the Blues boss believes the number of matches should be halved to ease the burden on players and fans alike.

He said: 'I am not saying this all of a sudden just because our game was called off.

'But the amount of games we play around this time is something which needs to be looked at.

'If reducing matches is for the good of everybody in football and a benefit of the national team with a tournament ahead then it should be done.

'I don't think we should have so many games over the Christmas period.

'At the moment there are two home and two away – that is too many, especially when you get teams travelling the length and breadth of the country over that period.

'Instead, the calendar should be one home and one away to help everyone.

'Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should have a winter break.

'Supporters enjoy the festive programme. We have done that for years, it's no problem. Bang in the middle of Christmas, crowds are at a high.

'It's just that four games in such a short space of time is not right.

'You've also got to look at how the weather has been during the past couple of years and whether we think all of a sudden we are getting more snow in and around this area.

'Overall, there are just too many games around this time.'

Earlier this month, the visit of Burnley was scrapped on health and safety grounds after more Arctic-like conditions.

On that occasion, the fixture was called off 48 hours before that scheduled December 4 encounter.

Meanwhile, the players were yesterday unable to train at their Eastleigh training base because of the snow.

It's yet more frustration for Cotterill as he looks to continue steering his side up the Championship table.

He added: 'It's unbelievably frustrating at the moment.

'I thought we should have played on Saturday.

'Instead, we have had our past two home matches called off.

'The training ground yesterday still had snow on the covers so we had to give the players the day off.

'They were going to come in today, though, which was originally going to be a day off.

'You make all these plans and they have to be changed because of the weather.'