Winter is Coming
FOR once, the British obsession with talking about the weather has not been out of place this week.
The snow, ice and wind which has hit the country – including, unusually, Plymouth – in the last few days, and which is set to continue, albeit less severely, into the weekend, has provided a rare lens through which Argyle’s preparation for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One visit to Rochdale has had to be viewed.
Derek Adams, a manager who worked in the Scottish Highlands for several winters, is probably as best placed as anyone to deal with the freezing temperatures, as the Best in the West tackles the Beast for the East.
“We just have to taper our training,” he said, matter-of-factly, before Thursday’s morning session.
“We trained Monday and Tuesday as normal. Today, there might be a wee bit of disruption, but we’ll train today and tomorrow as usual.”
What happens next is out of his hands. The match referee, the EFL and the Police may all have a say in whether the game at Spotland falls victim to the weather.
He said: “The groundsheet is down at Rochdale; it just depends on what the temperature is like overnight tonight and tomorrow night. Hopefully, the game will go ahead.
“We’ll travel tomorrow. We’ll leave at 12 tomorrow. We’ll wait and see. We’ll obviously be guided by the authoritiesif it is safe to travel or not safe to travel – it might be that they decide the game is off because of that, other than because of the pitch.
“The pitch protection only provides cover down to about three degrees, so anything below that, you’ve got a problem.
“It’s going to be travel arrangements, as well, not just for the team but for the supporters, as well, that is going to bring things into perspective.
“The police might come into play and advise [the EFL] that it’s not good for people travelling because of the weather conditions.”
Inevitably, with the Premier League this week declaring something of a fudged winter break in the future, the possibility of similar occurring in the EFL is up for discussion.
Derek said: “I don’t think the EFL will be able to have that just because of the amount of games we have to play.
“There is the possibility that you could add a midweek game into the schedule at this moment in time and get away with, and that allows us to have a free Saturday.
“That’s what the Premier League has done – given one free Saturday.
“I think you’d need more time than just one week off. When you play nearly 60 games a season at the tempo the game is – it’s not like it was years ago, when the tempo was a lot slower – it’s a different game to what it was.”