Ryan Lowe reacts to Southampton vs Preston postponement due to fire - as fan compensation explored

Ryan Lowe Ryan Lowe
Ryan Lowe | CameraSport - Alex Dodd
PNE's Championship match at Southampton was postponed due to a fire near St Mary's

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe has offered his sympathy to the away fans who travelled to Southampton - only for the game to be postponed four hours before kick off, following a huge fire outside the hosts' stadium.

The Lilywhites had their first match at St Mary's for almost 13 years and PNE were looking to close the gap on the play-off places. Southampton, meanwhile, are in the race for automatic promotion. Around 700 away fans had made the trip to the south coast. But, just after 16:00, the game was confirmed as called off - due to health and safety concerns.

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The huge blaze - from a warehouse on an industrial estate near Marine Parade - resulted in thick black smoke billowing around Southampton's ground. The initial call came in at around 13:05. And, after consultation with the local authorities and emergency services - amid 'significant disruption' and road closures - the game was postponed.

PNE boss, Lowe, said: "First and foremost, the safety of everyone involved - around the ground - it is important that nobody is injured or hurt. And then obviously, our supporters who've travelled all the way and taken the day off work to come - we really appreciate that. As always, you travel and you support. Unfortunately, there is no game to play tonight but we will look forward to getting back to Deepdale on Saturday afternoon and hopefully we can perform for you.

"The smoke is still there. We haven't really known; we've tried to contact Southampton. Then, we obviously got the call. The lads have seen stuff on social media. The most important thing is that everyone is fine and then the second one, is that you can't go into the ground with smoke like that - there could be all kinds of chemicals in there. We'll get back up the road and it gives us two days of preparation now, for Stoke, which is important. We'll be ready for Saturday afternoon."

North End's club comment, read: 'The club would like to thank supporters who have made the long journey to support the team and wish everyone a safe journey home. An announcement will be made on Thursday regarding any potential compensation arrangements for travelling fans.'

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