Graham Westley: Referee had not choice but to postpone

Goalkeeper Declan Rudd
Goalkeeper Declan Rudd
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Graham Westley described the late postponement of Preston North End’s visit to Crawley Town on Tuesday night as a ‘sickener’ but admitted the referee had little choice but to call the game off.

Heavy rain which started falling in late afternoon left parts of the Broadfield Stadium pitch waterlogged and in too dangerous a condition to play on.

An area near to the centre circle was of particular concern - with it being deeply rutted - and referee Simon Hooper called the game off just after 6.30pm.

PNE boss Westley said: When you make long journeys like this, there will be moans and groans when there is a late call-off.

“Crawley did everything to get the game on and I can totally understand where the referee was coming from.

“I can understand too why he left the game on so long because he was anxious to try and get a game of football played.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things.

“We didn’t want to travel all this way to be postponed and we didn’t want our fans to travel and make a wasted journey.

“It’s a sickener when a game is called off so late, but there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“The rain was falling and there were dangerous patches out there, so it’s the right decision.

“The patches were deep and there was a risk of players losing their feet and ankles under the surface - we didn’t want to see anyone get a nasty injury.

“I’m not sure you would have got a good game of football with conditions the way they were.

“We would have liked the game on and we would have liked to have got it won, but it wasn’t to be.”

The pitch was inspected by a local referee at 9am and passed fit, with the North End squad making the journey south by train later in the morning.

Westley added: “I live quite local and the thought didn’t pass my mind that the game could be off.

“The weather was okay for most of the day but then the rain set in.

“I’m gutted for the fans, they travel the length and breadth of the country to show their commitment.”

North End announced the loan signing of Norwich goalkeeper Declan Rudd just ahead of the postponement.

He’s joined until the end of the season and will provide competition for Thorsten Stuckmann.

Rudd will link-up with the PNE squad for training on Thursday - he wouldn’t have been involved at Crawley as the deal only got completed later afternoon.