Eastleigh Football Club have cancelled their next two home pre-season friendlies against League Two champions Portsmouth and Newport County.
AFC Wimbledon refused to play the Spitfires on their newly-resurfaced Silverlake Stadium pitch last Saturday [8th July], after which Pompey manager Kenny Jackett requested a meeting with the club.
It has been decided that, in order to allow the pitch to start the National League season in the best possible condition and to suit the needs of both playing squads in the midst of unpredictable weather patterns, the best solution was to cancel both fixtures.
The Spitfires have arranged an additional pre-season friendly away to Wessex League side Alton on 21st July in order to redress the gap in their pre-season programme left by the cancelled fixtures.
“Having had a last minute fixture cancellation on Saturday the last thing the club wants is a repeat performance this weekend,” commented Eastleigh’s Chief Executive, Mark Jewell.
“The result of calling a game off last minute for a regular fixture is bad enough, so we feel that with the added burden of a huge police bill for this fixture and the fact that the weather is so uncertain at this point, due to the extreme heat and the threat of very heavy rain fall the exposure to the club is just too high.”
“This is extremely disappointing for all concerned as, deep down, I feel the pitch will be in excellent condition on Saturday.
“However, it is crucial that both clubs leave nothing to chance in the run up to the new season. We are sorry for the inconvenience to both sets of fans but hope the long term benefits will outweigh any potential short term gains of playing this fixture”.
The club are offering spectators with tickets to the cancelled games the opportunity to claim a refund or use their ticket stubs as a voucher against club shop merchandise and programmes.
Supporters have also been advised that the scheduled friendly against League 1 outfit Sheffield United on 28th July will go ahead as planned regardless of the cancellations.