Friday night’s not all right (for football)

Elton John live in concert at Leigh Sports Village
Elton John live in concert at Leigh Sports Village
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WIGAN Athletic will make a decision this week as to whether next Tuesday’s glamour friendly against Besiktas goes ahead after being forced to cancel Friday’s clash with Walsall.

Latics’ pre-season warm-up against the Saddlers at the Leigh Sports Village was yesterday scrapped following a pitch inspection.

Damage caused by Sir Elton John’s recent concert meant the playing surface was deemed in not good enough shape to accommodate the game, which will now be played behind closed doors at Christopher Park.

And there is a huge question mark hanging over Tuesday’s match against Besiktas – also scheduled to take place at Leigh.

The Walsall game will be Wigan’s first ‘proper’ hit-out of the summer, after last Saturday’s 3-1 victory over TSV Havelse in Germany which was little more than a training session.

And Uwe Rosler is hoping to get a good look at as many players as possible as the countdown to the new campaign cranks up.

“Last season was extremely demanding, and the players needed a good break which they have had,” said Rosler. “We are back to work now and everyone knows the stakes are so high – we all want to get back into the Premier League and the hard work is being done now.”

Latics CEO Jonathan Jackson admitted Friday’s cancellation was regrettable, but unavoidable.

“Unfortunately the impact the concert has had on a section of the pitch has meant the normally-immaculate surface has not recovered sufficiently, and reluctantly we have had to make this decision,” said Jackson. “This is in no way a reflection on Leigh Sports Village, and we intend to maintain a close relationship moving forwards because it is a superb facility, professionally run and we thank them for their co-operation in this matter.”