Blackpool's pre-season friendly at Southport thrown into doubt

Southport's Haig Avenue stadium
Southport's Haig Avenue stadium
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Blackpool's pre-season friendly against Southport has been cancelled due to concerns over the non-league side's pitch.

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The Seasiders were due to travel to Haig Avenue next Tuesday, however those plans have now been scuppered.

Southport have recently re-laid their pitch and, having taken advice from a pitch consultant, have decided it would be too soon to play a game on the new surface.

However, both clubs remain in discussions regarding the potential to play the friendly elsewhere, although there is a possibility this could be behind closed doors.

Blackpool said: "The club has been informed that the playing surface at the ground requires further root growth and will no longer hold any pre-season fixtures prior to the new season.

"Both clubs remain in discussions with a view to holding the game at an alternative venue, with a further update to be provided in due course.

"In the meantime, the club would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Pitch consultant Alan Lewis informed Southport that playing any pre-season games on the surface could put it in doubt for the remainder of the campaign.

The Sandgrounders have also been forced to cancel a friendly against Blackburn Rovers.

Southport director Ian Kyle said: “We are extremely pleased with how the pitch has come on and we’re sure that those fans who come to the ground every Tuesday will have enjoyed seeing the work that has gone on to get it to the high standard it is now.

"Mr Lewis has assured us that it will be one of the best surfaces in the league.

“Much as we would like to play the games against Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers at the ground, as much for financial reasons as anything else, we also want to give the players every opportunity for the season ahead.

“We all witnessed how well the team played last season against Curzon Ashton and Colne, and it was no coincidence that these performances were on pitches that allowed us to play good football.

"It will be great to give the players that opportunity to play on a great surface at every home game. The last thing we would want to do is to sacrifice that at this late stage.”

This is the second Pool friendly to have been cancelled this summer, after Simon Grayson decided to scrap the weekend trip to Spennymoor Town.