Barnsley’s hopes of extending their impressive recent run and impressive record on Boxing Day is under doubt after Preston North End confirmed there will be a pitch inspection at 10am on the day of the game. The heavy snow showers have caused havoc across the country and Preston have confirmed the pitch may not be playable.
A statement on their official website reads:
PNE's Boxing Day clash with Barnsley faces a 10am pitch inspection on the day of the game. The results of that pitch inspection and any other further information on the game will be released by the usual media outlets.
The adverse weather conditions around Preston have meant that staff and volunteers from all parts of Club have been assisting in snow clearance duties. Efforts to clear what could be as much as 500 tonnes of snow from the pitch have been ongoing since the early hours of Wednesday, but it is a slow process as extra care is being taken not to damage the surface underneath.
More snow is forecast for Wednesday night, but the weather is then expected to change with rain and warmer temperatures expected around Christmas Day and Boxing Day itself, meaning the clean up efforts could be assisted by the conditions.
Speaking to the official website head groundsman Peter Ashworth said: "We don't want to do any damage to the playing surface itself, which means we are having to be careful with tractors, wheelbarrows and even with the amount of people on the pitch. It is fine underneath the covers as the snow has almost acted as another layer of insulation; we just have to remove all the snow.
"We need to remove the snow regardless, as the covers have been on for a few days now and we have to make sure it gets sunlight on it, so no long term damage is done."
The Club have made arrangements for additional staff to start in the early hours of Boxing Day morning if any final clear up is needed to make the stadium safe for supporters and the fans will be kept informed of any changes via the usual media outlets.
A decision will be made on Boxing Day as to whether the game will be going ahead.