Northern Ireland meeting with Israel under threat

Match with Russia was suspended

The prospects of Northern Ireland losing a second World Cup qualifier to the weather receded this afternoon, with Israel given the green light to train at Windsor Park.

Russia left Belfast without fulfilling their Group F clash after the original Friday night kick-off and a revised start time of 3pm on Saturday were called off due to heavy snow and pitch ice.

There had been some concerns tomorrow's visit of Israel would also be under threat, but a clear-up operation took place at the ground today and a FIFA delegation were dispatched to check the playing surface was safe for the visitors to practise at 5pm.

They confirmed they were happy for the session to go ahead, meaning the only threat to tomorrow's 7.45pm start would be another bout of extreme weather in the next 24 hours.

The match referee, alongside FIFA officials, will make a planned inspection at 10.30am in the morning - during which time the pitch will be assessed again in line with standard regulations.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill made his own visit to the stadium earlier today and is certain there will be no problems with the pitch.

"I was at the pitch this morning, it's not wet and it's not sticky," he said.

"In fact it's nice and dry and it's as good as it was before the snow was on it.

"The pitch is nice and firm, albeit slightly softer than it was when we trained on it on Thursday, but we have no concerns about the pitch at all.

"The groundsman has done a fantastic job."

A statement released by the IFA added: "The Irish FA is working tirelessly to prepare the pitch at Windsor Park for Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier against Israel.

"A pitch inspection will be carried out by the referee on Tuesday morning as part of his normal duties.

"The thaw has greatly helped the pitch and it is firm underfoot.

"Covers will be in place tonight. The aim of covers are to protect the pitch from the frost."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most