Too costly

SATURDAY'S postponed Championship game against Bristol City has led to Doncaster Rovers fans questioning why the Keepmoat Stadium doesn't boast under-soil heating.

The club's managing director, Stuart Highfield, told The Star that the original plans for the stadium did include that facility.

But he said that it was axed as part of the cuts when the Keepmoat Stadium complex, which eventually cost 32 million, came in 4m over budget.

"I think the view was taken that due to predicted global warming that there wouldn't be a need for it," said the Rovers director.

"This is the first cold winter that we have had in years.

"It is only the second game that we've lost at the stadium in the two years since we moved.

"The Leeds game, which had a noon kick-off, was called off last season but that would probably have been played had it kicked off at 3pm."

He added:"Under-soil heating obviously has its advantages, but it is costly to install and costly to run."

Highfield admitted that he had been confident that the game would go ahead the previous day despite a week of sub-sero overnight temperatures.

"The groundstaff had put heavy-duty plastic sheeting down at the start of the week and the pitch was playable on Friday," he said.

"But the temperature fell to minus four overnight, and nobody had predicted that, and frost got into the pitch.

"The referee was called in to make an early inspection at 9am and decided that the pitch wasn't playable.

"With the forecast predicting little improvement, he called the game off."

The Rovers' management took advantage of the postponement to check out forthcoming Championship opponents including fellow strugglers Southampton, who were at Oakwell.

But they were denied another look at Tuesday's FA Cup opponents, Cheltenham Town, for their League One clash at home to high-flying Millwall was also frozen off.

Should Rovers come through tomorrow's tie at Whaddon Road, Highfield said that their fourth-round tie would not be played on Saturday week.

"There is a race meeting in the town that Saturday and the police won't let us be at home the same day as the races, which always takes preference," he said.

"With having a game on the following Tuesday, we would probably opt for Friday night."

The weather also put paid to Rovers midfielder Stuart Elliott's debut for Grimsby, who he joined on loan on Thursday.

The Mariners League Two home game against Morecombe also fell victim to a frozen pitch.

n Meanwhile, new signing Jason Taylor says he is hoping for a long and successful spell with Rotherham United.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who joined the Millers from Stockport County last Thursday, said: "I know the manager has been interested for some time and, with my contract running down at Stockport, I felt that this was the time to move, " said Taylor.

"I was very impressed by what the club has planned for the future and although it means moving back down a division, I don't see it as a step back because I feel that this club is going forward and I want to be part of that.

"I have been told they are a great set of lads here who are very professional."

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