Just as Manchester United reclaimed pole position in the Premier League for the first time in nine months, they look likely to be forced into playing catch up football once again after their scheduled visit to Blackpool was called off. Sky Sports reports that despite Blackpools’ best efforts, Bloomfield Road has been deemed unfit for Saturday evening’s meeting due to a frozen pitch.
A number of matches across Britain have already fallen victim to the weather following a week of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. The clash between the Seasiders and United, scheduled to kick off at 5.30pm, has now become the first Premier League fixture of the weekend to be called off.
Blackpool admitted earlier on Friday that they had major concerns due to the lack of undersoil heating at Bloomfield Road. They hired a heated pitch cover in an attempt to beat the elements but, despite the best efforts of the groundsman and his team, referee Peter Walton has decided 24 hours in advance that the game will not go ahead. The news was first broken by Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on Twitter before Blackpool gave confirmation on their official website.
Walton ruled that severely affected areas of the playing surface would not thaw sufficiently for the match to be completed. Ian Holloway’s side will now have to wait until a later date for their first league meeting with United since the 1970s.
Blackpool have made an encouraging start to life back in the top flight, claiming several notable scalps including a win away to Liverpool. They had been looking to consolidate their position in mid table, while United were hoping to bounce back from a shock Carling Cup defeat to West Ham and remain unbeaten in the Premier League. But the United could now be dislodged from the top of the table if Chelsea overcome Everton or Arsenal beat Fulham.
Will the postponent prove to be a disadvantage for Manchester United?