Fears weather may claim Mansfield-Liverpool tie

One Call Stadium
Mansfield's One Call Stadium is under threat after heavy rain over the festive period. Photo: PA

Mansfield manager Paul Cox is worried one of the biggest games in the club's history may be a wash-out.

The Stags are scheduled to host Liverpool in the FA Cup third round on Sunday afternoon but the state of the pitch at the One Call Stadium is causing concern.

Mansfield's Blue Square Bet Premier fixture against Grimsby on Saturday had to be postponed because of a waterlogged pitch and the playing surface still looked soggy this morning.

With forecasters predicting more rain ahead of the weekend, the club's groundsman Michael Merriman has his work cut out to ensure that the Liverpool tie does not fall victim to the weather.

"The pitch took a lot of stick against Alfreton on Boxing Day and it is hard for it to recover with all the rain," said Cox, who will celebrate his 40th birthday on Sunday.

"In fact the assessor in the stand said to me he was surprised that game actually finished as the ball wasn't moving in some places on the pitch and players just couldn't run with it.

"Then we had Grimsby called off. That game was in doubt on the Friday but overnight there were strong winds and no more rain, so I was quite optimistic about the pitch inspection.

"But the water just wasn't draining away and if you threw a ball up it just wouldn't bounce. The forecast for later was torrential rain so there was little option.

"And here we are again. All we can do is hope for Sunday.

"The front page of the newspaper the other day said the new year is set to be a wash-out, so you start to worry about the Liverpool game.

"Obviously, we want to have a decent surface for the Liverpool game. We want to be be able to give the best account of ourselves that we can in front of a worldwide TV audience.

"The FA Cup has something special about it and to get Liverpool is a dream for the club, it is what dreams are made of.

"It will be a massive game for the club and such a shame if the weather ruins it for everyone because the players, the chairman and the supporters all deserve it."