NEWPORT County AFC suffered a second late postponement of the week after their League Two fixture against Southend United fell victim to a frozen pitch.

The Exiles had been looking to retain their lead at the top of the table but referee Paul Howard deemed the surface at Rodney Parade was unplayable.

On Tuesday torrential rain had caused the postponement of the fixture against Exeter but this time it was a frozen pitch.

The decision was announced at 1.30pm with the official opting not to give any more time despite the Shrimpers having already travelled west.

Exiles boss Michael Flynn backed the ref’s call despite the toil of the Rodney Parade groundstaff, who are back in work after being hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

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“The efforts of the groundstaff was phenomenal and it’s a credit to them that some of the pitch was playable,” said Flynn.

“There were just too many areas that were solid and the referee made a decision for the safety and wellbeing of the players, so it was the correct decision.

“First thing this morning it was off, the referee came and it was solid. The temperature was going to rise slightly and the pitch has got a lot better, but there are just too many areas where it was frozen.

“It’s not ideal for Southend but the referee has made a decision and I agree with it. I’ve seen a couple of their staff members and they realise that we wanted to give it as long as possible, they were in agreement with that.

“It’s just unfortunate and there are going to be a lot of games off this weekend because of the weather conditions.”

County haven’t played since Boxing Day and their next fixture is the televised FA Cup tie against Premier League Brighton a week on Sunday.

That fixture is the evening after the Dragons host the Ospreys in the Guinness PRO14.

The Exiles will then face a hectic schedule in their bid for promotion to League One, with Salford their next opponents on January 16.

“This gives us time to prepare properly for the game against Brighton," said Flynn, before heading off to lead a staff meeting to shape their build-up to the clash with the Seagulls.

"It is what it is, we are never going to do things the easy way here – if we have to play Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday then we will."