John Nelms opens up on Dundee v Rangers state of play, preferred rescheduling date, pitch areas of concern and no contingency plans

The Dundee managing director sets out the state of play as concerns grow over playing surface

Dundee managing director John Nelms says there is no contingency plan currently in place should their match on Wednesday against Rangers be called off for a second time due to a waterlogged pitch.

Concerns remain over the condition of the Dens Park playing surface, with persistent rain forecast to fall right up until kick-off. The match was originally called off on March 17 and with the Premiership due to split at the end of the weekend, the Scottish Professional Football League is under pressure to have all 33 pre-split matches fulfilled. Dundee are currently in sixth place and in a battle with Hibs and Motherwell to make the top six. Dundee’s last match, at home to the Steelmen on Saturday, required two inspections before being the surface was deemed playable.

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There has been speculation that should the game fall foul of the weather on Wednesday, it could be played on Thursday at Dens Park or at a neutral venue. However, Nelms dismissed such a notion and speaking to Sky Sports, he explained the exact areas of concern with the pitch and put forward his preferred dates should the match be postponed.

Dundee managing director John Nelms checks the pitch at Dens Park.Dundee managing director John Nelms checks the pitch at Dens Park.
Dundee managing director John Nelms checks the pitch at Dens Park.

"We're as confident as we can be,” said Nelms. “We've done everything we can do to make the pitch playable and right now the areas of concern we have covered, and have had covered since yesterday. But the timing of the rain is always an issue.

"We’ve done everything we can do to get the water draining out of the pitch. We did that before Saturday’s game, once again it was a timing issue. We got that game on. The pitch didn’t look pretty but it played well. It was safe underfoot, the ball rolled and bounced the way it is supposed to. It’s very much the same as what we are doing today. The covers are on. We have heavier covers over the areas of the pitch that need to be covered more, so to speak. The plan is to continue with the covers on and continue with the work we’ve been doing. We’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours.

"The rest of the pitch deals with the weather quite well. There are two or three areas that struggle and it’s because of a strada-layer we have to poke through, which we have done. It becomes a timing issue. Keeping the water off those areas as long as we can is what is key.”

When asked what his preference would be for a rescheduled date, Nelms continued: "We don’t play the split until the 27th so we’ll have the 16th and 17th of next week. I’ve been looking at a lot of weather reports and it is supposed to be dry for the four days prior to those days, so you would think that would be the logical move.

"We want to play with our fans and their fans. That’s the reason why we do this. It’s an entertainment business. That’s the foremost point of this thing. There are no other contingency plans from our side other than the 16th and the 17th.”

When asked if there was a contingency plan between Dundee, Rangers and the SPFL, Nelms added: "Nothing at this point in time. Right now the game is on and if the game is not on, we’ll have a contingency plan that will be put forward to us in that point in time.”



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