Glentoran chairman Aubry Ralph has admitted the club faces a race against time to repair the floodlights at the Oval ahead of Saturday’s JJB Sports Premiership showdown with Crusaders.
The Glens are determined to tussle with their cross-city rivals at the weekend, however if the damaged lights cannot be repaired the club may request an early kick-off — possibly 1pm.
The last thing Glentoran and Crusaders want is further fixture congestion.
But Glentoran’s problem is now gaining access to the floodlights without causing damage to the pitch.
The Irish Cup clash with Limavady United on Saturday had to be abandoned for health and safety reasons at the interval when the fierce winds damaged a floodlight pylon.
Both sides will recommence their Irish Cup assault on Tuesday, February 3, but the Glens still have to arrange a date with Linfield for the Big Two clash which never kicked off at the Oval on October 4.
“Every effort will be made to fix the lights ahead of Saturday’s game,” said Ralph. “The problem we are facing is the lights are high up and difficult to reach and we need a large cherry picker with an elevated platform to gain access to it.
“Heavy equipment will have to go across the pitch and we must minimise the damage to the playing surface.
“Hopefully the weather will improve this week and our electrician who is at the ground carrying out work this week will help us fix the problem.
“We are all very keen to see the game against Crusaders go ahead and if the floodlights are not repaired we could be looking at a 1pm kick-off. We appreciate that health and safety has to come before everything else.”
The Glens have been given grant aid to erect new floodlighting but it will not be installed for a few months.
“To be fair to the referee (Raymond Crangle) he made the right call and the game could not go ahead with the serious concerns over the lighting,” added Ralph.
“Obviously we must now make the lighting secure and we will all need to be satisfied that the structure is ok. We have a resourceful team and I am confident the game will go ahead.”
Meanwhile, Cliftonville striker Rory Hamill has been placed on the transfer list at his own request.
The 32-year-old forward joined the Reds from Glentoran in the summer and made his debut in the Uefa Cup clash against FC Copenhagen in Denmark.
However, Ballymena United manager Roy Walker has confirmed that Linfield midfielder Paul McAreavey will not be joining the Sky Blues this month.