Bantams win pitch battle but left sidelined by cold weather

Bradford City's Connor Sellars and Mark Trueman.  Picture: Bruce RollinsonBradford City's Connor Sellars and Mark Trueman.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Bradford City's Connor Sellars and Mark Trueman. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Bradford City’s League Two fixture with Crawley Town has been postponed – marking the third consecutive match the Bantams have had called off.

Referee Bobby Madley visited Valley Parade on Friday afternoon and deemed the playing surface safe to use. 

However, the Utilita Energy Stadium has been deemed unsafe as a wider facility due to snow and ice in areas surrounding the ground. 

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Snow and ice was cleared from the frost covers in its entirety after hours of work from the club’s ground staff.

The covers had remained on the pitch since Wednesday. 

“The efforts of the ground staff have been superb and, from a playing perspective, there is no issue whatsoever,” said Madley, as Bradford hoped to avoid another fixture postponement. 

“All the snow has been cleared from the surface, and the pitch is still a decent one. 

“There is obviously a much bigger picture than the playing perspective though, and the roads around the ground certainly do not look or feel safe. 

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“The EFL have to take into account the fact the away side have a long distance to travel, and are likely to be bringing their team coach down Valley Parade. The ground staff here have put me in a position to say that the pitch is fine, so massive credit goes to them, but there are much bigger decisions to be made in terms of safety outside the ground.”

City’s chief executive officer, Ryan Sparks, added: “We have worked tirelessly to ensure the pitch is playable, and that remains the case. 

“The playing surface is not frozen and is in good condition, however surrounding areas of the stadium are extremely unsafe and this has caused concerns. 

“Given where we are in society, we do not wish to put people’s welfare at risk and potentially add further strain to the country’s already-stretched emergency services. 

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“We are naturally disappointed to have lost the fixture. It will be close to a month by the time we next take to the field. 

“However, given the conditions around the Utilita Energy Stadium – and an adverse forecast which could bring even more snow overnight – we are sadly unable to play the game.”

Bradford haven’t played competitively since the end of December when they drew 0-0 with Port Vale

Their following fixture against Morecambe on January 2 was postponed due to a Covid-19 breakout at the Shrimps while last week’s trip to Scunthorpe United was called off due to a frozen pitch.

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Meanwhile, Bradford City have cancelled forward Kurtis Guthrie’s contract as they continue to rebuild their squad under interim managers Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars.

Shortly after that was announced, League Two rivals Port Vale announced he had joined them.

Guthrie joined the Bantams 12 months ago when Gary Bowyer was manager, but has been restricted by injuries and form to just 13 appearances, five of them League Two starts.

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