Referee Dean Whitestone and Groundsman Nathan Chapman explain Saturday's postponement

George Jones reports from The Valley

Referee Dean Whitestone has explained his decision to call off today’s fixture against Scunthorpe United at The Valley.
The official arrived in SE7 before 10am this morning and, having inspected the surface and consulted both Managers, he deemed the pitch to be unsafe. 
“The pitch has been covered and I’ve come in early today following a few concerns about it,” he said. “I’ve had a good look at it, have spoken to the groundsman and have taken in as much information as possible.
“Both teams’ Managers are here and, as a result of the inspection, the pitch is clearly frozen and very hard all over.
“It’s not playable or safe to start a football game with the pitch in this condition. From my point of view, it is a relatively straight forward decision.
“It’s disappointing because I’d like the game to go ahead but I don’t think it is going to get much better with the current forecast as it is.”
Valley Groundsman Nathan Chapman has had the covers – which can take up to temperatures of minus four - on the pitch since last weekend’s game with Millwall.
“The cold weather temperatures went down to around minus six last night and we’ve had that continuously for the last week or so,” Chapman said. “The pitch has been covered constantly.
“When there has been sun, we have split the covers to try and get some heat back into the soil but unfortunately the conditions have beaten us.”
The Groundsman also provided some clarity on undersoil heating at The Valley.
He said: “When we had the reconstruction of the pitch done [in 2014], we installed the pipework under the pitch as it is a stipulation for the Premier League.
“It’s very, very expensive to run so we don’t have the boilers. We believed that the covers would suffice for now but, with the temperatures that we have had, the weather has beaten us.”

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