Carlisle v Yeovil preview

Friday night’s World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland and

Russia has been called off after Windsor Park was blanketed in

snow.

The match has been rescheduled for 3pm on Saturday but more bad

weather is forecast and another postponement may be on the

cards.

Snow covered the pitch overnight and continued to fall

throughout the day, frustrating the efforts of Irish Football

Association staff, who worked tirelessly in an attempt to try and

clear the ground of settled snow.

The snow also forced the closure of the runway at George Best

Belfast City Airport and there were concerns over the safety of

fans travelling to the Northern Ireland match.

Norwegian referee Tom Hagen began a series of inspections at

10am but it always looked unlikely that the match would get the

green light and the decision to postpone the fixture was made at

2.30pm.

More bad weather on the way

More bad weather is expected on Friday night and into Saturday,

raising concerns about whether the match will be able to take place

this weekend at all.

Officials will meet at 10.30am on Saturday morning and IFA head

of communications Geoff Wilson said on Friday: “There has to be an

attempt to play the game tomorrow, because FIFA rules say every

effort has to be made to play the game the day after a

postponement.

“We’re looking to play the game tomorrow but we will have a

briefing session at 10.30am and have another look at the pitch with

the referee.

“We’re open to the elements here and I think that, if you look

at the elements right now, it probably doesn’t look very positive.

That being said, stranger things have happened.

“We’re on Plan B and there could be a Plan C but, at the moment,

we are focused on getting the game on tomorrow.

“There is a real willingness on both federations to play but,

according to the weather forecast, it is due to be bad today and

for parts of tomorrow.”

Windsor Park, which is home to Irish League outfit Linfield, is

among the more basic on the international circuit, and does not

have any under-soil heating.

Northern Ireland are also due to host Israel on Tuesday but that

game may also be doubtful, with the pitch not likely to be in a

good condition if the Russia match goes ahead.

And Fabio Capello’s Russia side are due to play Brazil in a

friendly at Stamford Bridge on Monday, but now face the prospect of

a one-day break between matches.

Carlisle’s latest signing Mathieu Manset is hoping international

clearance issues will be resolved in time for him to make his debut

against the Glovers.

The ex-Reading forward had hoped to be involved in last week’s

defeat at Leyton Orient, but former club FC Sion have so far

refused to hand over his registration.

Scottish striker Lee Miller is available again after sitting out

a three-game ban for his recent red card at Notts County and is

hoping to go straight back into the starting line-up.

The Cumbrians will be without suspended goalkeeper Mark

Gillespie following his dismissal for two yellow cards in midweek,

so Adam Collin will make his first start since early December.

Manager Greg Abbott has hinted he may go without a substitute

goalkeeper on the bench as the Cumbrians chase only their second

win in nine league matches.

Yeovil will be without captain Jamie McAllister when they make

the long trip to Carlisle looking to get back to winning ways.

Glovers boss Gary Johnson was disappointed with his side’s

display in their televised 2-0 defeat to Swindon on Tuesday night,

a performance which deteriorated after the loss of their

captain.

McAllister, who had been having painkilling injections in his

ankle in recent matches, limped off four minutes after half-time

but he had already picked up his 10th booking of the season which

rules him out of Yeovil’s next two matches.

“We had to give him a rest anyway, he had been having these

injections and we knew we would have to give him a rest for the

next couple of games and he has that anyway now with the 10th

yellow card,” Johnson said.

“We will have to deal without him which is a shame as without

him we don’t seem half the team.”

One player who will now walk a disciplinary tightrope is Byron

Webster who looks likely to feature despite being on nine yellow

cards, one away from joining his captain in the stands.