BARNSLEY’s preparations for Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday have been hampered by the snow.
So much so that the Reds have had to seek special training arrangements at the English Football Association’s National Football Centre in Burton-upon-Trent to make sure they can get in some welcome pitch time before the weekend’s big clash.
The Reds trained at Oakwell’s indoor training complex on Sunday and Monday before taking a day off on Tuesday.
But boss David Flitcroft moved quickly to secure two training session slots at the National Football Centre for yesterday and today to help with their preparations for a showdown with the Owls at Hillsborough.
“We’ve had a hell of a lot of snow in Barnsley and the training pitches and the ground were completely covered,” Reds director Don Rowing told The Star. “So we’ve organised a couple of training days at St George’s to help the squad with their preparations.
“Unfortunately all of our pitches are out of commission and, although the indoor facility is useful, there’s only so much the players can do there.
“We’re also very mindful of the fact we’ve got four more home games this season and we don’t want to damage our pitch by training on it.
“Pitches don’t get better at this stage in the season, they only get worse and so we’ve decided to stay off it for a while.
“The snow and all the water can make it heavy it parts, which can also lead to injuries, so we’re just being as careful as we can.”
With the weather having been so bad during the last week, Rowing added he would be surprised if a number of other clubs were not using the facilities in preparation for matches over the Easter period.
“I think a lot of Midlands clubs use it now anyway, but because of the weather the demand will be high,” added Rowing. “We were lucky to get a slot. It’s not cheap, but we’re doing what we feel is best for the squad.
“We’ve been lucky enough in the past to have other clubs who have let us train at their grounds, but it’s a very important stage in the season now and I think everyone just tends to look after each other.”
The Reds have nine more games to try avoid relegation, starting with a visit to their derby rivals.