Sunderland to question reasons for pitch flood

 

Sunderland will hold a meeting with their pitch consultants in order to find out why their game against Reading had to be called off at the 11th hour.

Wearside suffered severe downpours from early on Saturday morning but the decision to postpone the game 90 minutes before kick-off still raised eyebrows.

The Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill, and his Reading counterpart Brian McDermott both backed the decision of the referee, Neil Swarbrick, not to start the game with areas of the pitch flooded.

However, McDermott did claim that the match would have been played if the same situation had occurred at the Madejski Stadium. Sunderland do not believe that the staging of concerts at the Stadium of Light had anything to do with the postponement but the playing surface was relaid over the summer.

"The club has invested a significant sum into pitchworks over the summer months," said Margaret Byrne, Sunderland's chief executive. "We are confident that it is in first-class condition. We will however meet with our pitch consultants immediately to carry out a full analysis of the events.

"Naturally everyone is hugely disappointed that our opening game of the season could not go ahead as planned. I would like to express my sincere apologies to those fans, both home and away, who travelled such distances to support their respective teams and had to go home disappointed. I would also like to thank the manager, players and officials from Reading for their understanding in this matter."

Peter Weymes, Sunderland's facilities manager, added: "We carefully monitor weather forecasts in the days leading up to home games and whilst rain was predicted, the exceptional and unseasonal nature of the downpours was not anticipated by the weather services."

Sunderland, meanwhile, are still keen to sign Tottenham's Danny Rose on a one-year loan deal.

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