Belfast Telegraph

Carrick Rangers facing fixtures headache in weeks ahead

By Graham Luney

The Northern Ireland Football League is set to come to Carrick Rangers' rescue after yet another postponement yesterday.

The pitch at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena was waterlogged and failed a pitch inspection ahead of Glenavon's scheduled visit.

Lurgan Blues fans were disappointed at the cancellation but it's Rangers who have the bigger headache with a fixture backlog to address.

After the sixth postponement this season at Carrick's home ground another venue is going to have to be found for the club's home fixtures.

There has been no home game at the ground traditionally known as Taylor's Avenue since October 31, a 2-2 draw against Ballymena United. Rangers have to arrange outstanding home league games against Crusaders, Cliftonville, Dungannon Swifts and now Glenavon.

The club has a further five home games to squeeze in before the league split at the end of March leaving them with nine home fixtures to fulfil in a three-month period.

That is a significant challenge in light of them playing seven home matches in a four month period since the start of the season.

Rangers have played home league matches at Seaview, the home of Crusaders before, and could return there to play the games as midweek battles.

In 2013, Warrenpoint Town were able to nominate Stangmore Park as their home ground for the first few months of the 2013-14 season as their own home ground, Milltown Playing Fields, was not up to Premiership standard after the IFA refused permission for them to move to The Showgrounds in Newry.

The weather has been atrocious and we have witnessed extraordinary levels of rainfall this winter but Carrick's flight still raises further concerns about the state of Irish League pitches.

The Big Two Boxing Day game at The Oval was almost called off due to the wet weather and yesterday's Portadown v Ballymena United clash was in doubt before it was given the green light.

Belfast Telegraph

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